Key messages from the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health meeting – Friday 30th April 2021

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the 30th April meeting are as follows:

  1. National testing team join DsPH – Colleagues from the national testing team, the C&M Health & Care Partnership and the Joint Biosecurity Centre joined DsPH for a detailed discussion on current activity and future plans. The national team shared the latest updates on universal testing as well as plans to ensure testing is accessible for harder to reach communities where there might be enduring transmission. The DsPH fed in issues of concern, in particular the need to ensure access to assisted testing remains as well as home testing. National colleagues will feed back on the issues raised at a future meeting. DsPH thanked colleagues on the call for their support on the testing programme to date.
  2. PHE inpatient detox grant funding – Gary Rickwood from Wirral, on behalf of the local drug and alcohol commissioners, presented a paper with recommendations for the available funding for medically managed inpatient detox. The recommendations in the paper were agreed along with the recruitment of a co-ordinator to sit in the Champs support team. DsPH thanked Gary and the local commissioners for their work.
  3. PHE COVID-19 report – Sam Ghebrehewet, PHE North West, updated that the infection rates are still low and C&M is lower than the rest of the North West. Age groups with higher infection rates include 11-17 year olds and 30-39 year olds. There are very small numbers in the over 60’s. There is some transmission in schools which shows the importance of testing and compliance to self-isolation. The DsPH thanked Richard Jarvis and the local leads for the weekly updates.
  4. Population health fellows – Health Education England has asked for expressions of interest from organisations willing to host a Population Health Fellow for the second cohort of the fellowship. The DsPH agreed to progress hosting a Fellow to potentially work on the health inequalities programme.
  5. Good news and gratitude:
    1. Eileen O’Meara represented Champs Collaborative at a Marmot round table, chaired by Sir Michael. This is a new network through which tangible and proven solutions to reducing health inequalities can be shared.
    2. Simon Bell (Halton) and James Woolgar (Liverpool) were invited onto a panel of speakers at the national sexual health conference on 27 April. Simon highlighted the C&M work on cervical screening and James spoke on improving access to LARC and women’s reproductive health hubs.
    3. C&M reached 2% above the national average for high blood pressure detection. The QoF data is pre-covid and the pandemic will have impacted detection rates but it is still an important success and recognises the work by a whole range of partners over the last five years.