What is Health Protection?
Health protection can be defined as “the protection of individuals, groups and populations through expert advice and effective collaboration to prevent and mitigate the impact of infectious disease, environmental, chemical and radiological threats”.
The effective delivery of local health protection services requires close partnership working between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the NHS and local government, amongst others. Core health protection functions expected of local health systems include:
- Communicable disease control
- Emergency preparedness, resilience and response
- Risk assessment and risk management
- Risk communication
- Incident and outbreak investigation and management
- Monitoring and surveillance of communicable diseases
- Infection prevention and control in health and care settings
- Delivery and monitoring of immunisation and vaccination programmes
- Environmental public health and control of chemical, biological and radiological hazards
The Health Protection Lead group aims to promote collaborative working across Cheshire and Merseyside on all aspects of health protection including communicable disease control, environmental public health, and emergency planning, preparedness, and response.
This aim will enable every person, wherever they live in Cheshire and Merseyside and irrespective of their circumstances, to be protected from infectious and non-infectious environmental health hazards and, where such hazards occur, to minimise their continued impact on their health. We do this by preventing exposure to such hazards, taking timely actions to respond to threats and acting collectively to ensure the best use of human and financial resources.
Why is it important?
Health Protection is one of Public Health’s core duties.
It includes stopping the spread of communicable diseases, screening for diseases, immunisations, emergency planning to prevent or deal with natural or manmade disasters, preventing harm from contaminated land, preventing poor air quality and pandemic planning.
It requires that we work in partnership with the public, the police, hospitals, primary care, ambulances and local authorities.
What are we doing?
The four priorities for 2023/24 are:
- Immunisation – to improve uptake and reduce inequalities, with a particular focus on routine childhood vaccinations
- Migrant health – to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are supported to access the health services they require, including TB screening and immunisation
- Infection, prevention and control – to ensure robust standards and policies are in place to prevent and control infectious diseases within settings and in the community
- System leadership – to ensure the Cheshire and Merseyside system has all of the necessary structures in place in preparation for any and any future health protection threat. This includes having in place the right levels of workforce, capacity, resilience and processes
Who we are
The Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Lead’s Forum is chaired by Matt Tyrer, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East Council, and includes Public Health Consultant representatives from each of the nine local authorities, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and NHS England (North West).
The Group is supported by the Champs Support Team and meets monthly to seek assurance on effectiveness, discuss progress and agree necessary actions, reporting into the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health.
Matt Tyrer, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East Council