The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the 28th May meeting are as follows:
- Welcome to Dr Andrew Furber – The DsPH welcomed Regional Director of Public Health for PHE North West, Dr Andrew Furber, to their meeting. Andrew gave an update on the PHE regional functions that are moving across to DHSC, NHSE/I and UKHSA. He also welcomed the input C&M DsPH had provided on the design of the new health protection system and suggested the slide deck produced was forwarded to Dr Jenny Harries for consideration. Chair Ian Ashworth formally thanked PHE colleagues for all their hard work and support. DsPH will work with the newly formed teams to ensure a resilient and fit for purpose health protection team in C&M.
- PHE COVID-19 update – C&M is still showing lower cases of COVID than the rest of the North West and most areas are below 25 per 100,000 of the population. Sefton have successfully contained the Variant of Concern (VOC) first identified in India and this has now become the dominant strain. Hospital admissions and deaths remain low. No outbreaks have occurred within care homes and only a small number in schools. DsPH clarified with PHE colleagues that people who have been in contact with a positive VOC case should access a PCR test even if they do not have symptoms. Ensuring people have two doses of the vaccine is particularly important.
- NHSE/I update – Julie Kelly, Head of Public Health for C&M NHSE/I confirmed that the data sharing issue for restoration of services has been resolved. Julie will be able to provide a quarterly report to DsPH and health protection leads. Other publicly available data will be shared within the new population health dashboard.
- Suicide bereavement services – DsPH received a paper from Neil Boardman of the Champs support team on the re-commissioning of the suicide bereavement service. From 2024 responsibility for commissioning this service will move to the C&M Health & Care Partnership (ICS). Following discussion it was agreed to look into the options in more detail and Neil will provide an update at a future meeting.
- Good news and gratitude:
- Julie Kelly from NHSE/I raised the Accelerated Accreditation scheme for bowel screening endoscopists and that 5 out of 6 so far had passed their exams. This collaborative piece of work will contribute to wider recovery of services.
- A date of 7th July has been agreed for the launch event of the Marmot Community/health inequalities work with the C&M Health & Care Partnership. Further details and how to book will be circulated shortly.
- Chair Ian Ashworth thanked communications colleagues in the Champs support team for an informative news round-up which had been well received.