Key messages from the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health meeting – Friday 16th April 2021

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the 16th April meeting are as follows:

  • PHE COVID-19 update – Sam Ghebrehewet from PHE NW gave a summary of the position in C&M which is good overall with most areas now below 25 cases per 100,000 of the population which is lower than the rest of the North West. There have been no new outbreaks in care homes.
  • Testing and international travel – Despite the drop in cases, DsPH remain cautious regarding new variants and international travel therefore a group will be set up to look at travel and what measures can be put in place. In addition, DsPH will revisit the C&M testing strategy to include surge testing in the event of new variants.
  • Suicide prevention update – The DsPH welcomed Neil Boardman to the meeting to run through progress on the suicide prevention and suicide bereavement work over the last 12 months. Neil has taken over the role following the retirement of Pat Nicholl. Neil ran through key achievements such as obtaining Suicide Safer Community status, targeted campaigns, workforce development and men’s health projects. The DsPH praised everyone involved in the work and also thanked Sue Forster for her leadership in this area.
  • One team model for C&M outbreak identification and rapid response  – Julie Webster and Sam Ghebrehewet talked to DsPH regarding an approach to developing a “one team model” for outbreak identification and rapid response in C&M, building on the strong foundations already in place. A small number of local areas will work with PHE to co- produce the model over the next few weeks, after which it will be evaluated and learning shared.
  • Transformation board for children and young people – The C&M Health & Care Partnership have asked for public health representation on a new children and young people’s transformation board that will be chaired by David Parr, CEO of Halton Council. Its priorities will include childhood obesity, mental health, respiratory diseases and learning difficulties. DsPH were happy to be part of this important work.
  • Good news and gratitude:
    • DsPH would like to formally thank Sue Forster for her excellent leadership for the Collaborative, particularly as lead for suicide prevention/mental wellbeing and wish her all the very best in her retirement.
    • DsPH would also like to thank all colleagues in the system for their hard work which has contributed to the low rates of COVID-19 in local communities.