C&M DsPH update w/e 26.3.21

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the 26th March meeting are as follows:

  1. PHE COVID-19 update – Rates are low overall however some areas are seeing a slight increase but the numbers are small. There are some outbreaks occurring and concerns are around people not social distancing in workplaces and people mixing after vaccination. The DsPH also raised the importance of repeat testing in the community, despite the successful vaccination programme. Tracey Lambert will liaise with both LRF comms cells around messaging on these issues and share any resources available.
  2. Vaccination update – Matt Ashton and Thara Raj attend the “Gold” meetings for vaccinations and updated DsPH on vaccine supply plans during April and the funding for “vaccine inequalities” from the C&M Health & Care Partnership.
  3. Contact tracing and future health protection model – Julie Webster informed DsPH of the work going on to revise the current contact tracing model. A paper will be shared with DsPH after Easter with a suggested approach. DsPH will feed in any questions to Julie in the meantime and via the C&M Contact Tracing Group.
  4. UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) – The formation of the UKHSA, recently announced by Government, was discussed. It will take over health protection responsibilities from PHE, but information is expected this week on the future for health care public health and health improvement. The UKHSA will cover all of the UK rather than just England. The DsPH agreed to look at a collective response to the consultation questions in the Government report.
  5. Mental wellbeing expertise – It was agreed to bring in senior part time capacity on mental wellbeing into the Champs support team to help respond to this important priority at this time.
  6. Good news and gratitude:
    • Sefton Council has recruited a new Public Health Consultant and PHE have recruited 3 new Public Health Consultants.
    • The DsPH recognised the contribution made by Pat Nicholl in her role of Mental Wellbeing Lead in the Champs support team and wished her well in her retirement.
    • The work of both Champs Collaborative and PHE during the pandemic was featured in the recently published LGA annual report.