C&M DsPH weekly update w/e 23 October 2020

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) held their weekly call, with colleagues from PHE NW and NHSE/I on Friday 23 October. The update below also contains items discussed at last week’s call on Friday 16 October.

  • COVID-19 Exceedance reports – Dr Sam Ghebrehewet from PHE NW gave an overview of the current data highlighting the number of people coming forward for testing has decreased.  The reasons are unknown but the outcome is that positivity rates are higher. One possible reason for reduction in people coming forward for testing is the impending half term and people not wanting to self-isolate during school holidays. Knowsley is currently conducting some insight around COVID compliance which will be shared with DsPH and LRF comms cells.
  • C&M Hub and Health Protection team – Sam Ghebrehewet provided an update paper on the hub and how cases will be prioritised going forward with case numbers being so high. A flow chart of hub activity will also be shared.
  • National Test and Trace discussions and opportunities for collaboration – A discussion was held regarding the recent developments in Liverpool City Region (LCR) as a result of Tier 3 restrictions and opportunities to develop a LCR Contact Tracing approach with the national system.  Jon Browning from DHSC is providing programme management support to help develop the model which is evolving. A meeting of all C&M DsPH is being held on 23/10/20. It was agreed to build on current developments and advocate for a collaborate approach to Contact Tracing.
  • Mass Testing – Sue Forster referred to the mass testing letter sent to C&M DsPH on 21st October, outlining the next phase which includes pilots of new tests to quickly detect asymptomatic cases in priority settings. It was highlighted that a strong contact tracing system also needs to be in place to support these new tests.
  • Communications update – Tracey Lambert updated on the rapid C&M social media campaign for 20-30 year olds which had some good engagement and that the testing phase for the new behaviour change campaign for young people is underway. There has been an offer from the national behavioural insights team to work with LCR which is being led by the MRF comms cell. There is a new COVID C&M public facing campaign in development called “Take a minute” led by Wirral Council on behalf of the two LRF comms cells and local authority communications leads are being engaged for roll out.
  • Care Home Visiting – Margaret Jones raised the issues with care home guidance and DsPH agreed the need to have a common approach and consensus statement.
  • Screening and immunisation update – Julie Kelly from NHSE/I gave a brief update on the screening and immunisation work. Flu uptake has been extremely positive with high footfall through pharmacy and has superseded last year’s target within first 7 weeks. Cancer screening services continue to recover, albeit slowly and the MMR uptake work with Primary Care Networks has been resurrected.
  • Mental health champions webinar – Tracey Lambert advised DsPH of a Mental Health Champions webinar which is being jointly held with North West Employers on 12th November. Tracey advised that elected members in C&M have been invited.
  • Good news and gratitude – Eileen O’Meara highlighted that Halton were runners up in the MJ Workplace Health awards. Congratulations to Halton! DsPH would again like to thank all colleagues across the system who are working so hard on the response to COVID. It was agreed to write to team members in the C&M Contact Tracing Hub to thank them for their support in dealing with a huge workload of complex cases.