Weekly update from Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health – 27th August and 6th September 2021

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet weekly. The key messages from 27th August and 6th September meetings are as follows:

  1. Testing – Colleagues from the C&M testing team joined the DsPH for discussions on how we ensure we have an effective testing system in C&M. A paper with issues to be considered will be prepared by DsPH and it was recommended that the current C&M Test, Trace and Contain strategy be refreshed.
  1. PHE COVID-19 update – PHE North West reported that rates are rising slowly now especially in the over 60s.  Some businesses remain a cause of concern and it is important that businesses/workplaces keep up practices such as mask wearing, hand hygiene and social distancing where possible. A paper on priority actions to help manage COVID-19 through the winter was shared with DsPH. There are concerns around younger people not coming forward for vaccination along with all age groups across the Liverpool City Region.
  1. NHSE/I update – Screening programmes continue to recover and restore and work is planned with some GP practices to improve uptake of childhood immunisations.  Thanks were given to Julie Kelly and her team for their hard work.
  2. Dental survey – PHE dental public health colleagues joined the DsPH to discuss future local commissioning intentions for a national dental epidemiological survey of 5 year olds for 2021/22.
  1. Health protection system in Cheshire and Merseyside – Guests from Tricordant joined the DsPH to feed back the findings and recommendations in their report around building a resilient health protection system. DsPH will now discuss the report with their teams and feed in any comments.
  2. Winter pressures – DsPH considered a paper by PHE on winter pressures and possible mitigation measures.
  3. Good news and gratitude:
  • Thanks were expressed to outgoing Chair Ian Ashworth for chairing the weekly DsPH meetings over the last 12 months, in what have been very challenging times. Sarah McNulty from Knowsley will take over the Chair from 10th September and Matt Tyrer from Cheshire East will become Vice-Chair.
  • The DsPH expressed their gratitude to Sarah Johnson Griffiths (Halton) for her hard work and commitment in engaging with the organisers of Creamfields, to ensure that public health measures were put in place wherever and whenever possible at the festival.
  • The DsPH expressed their congratulations to Tracy Flute (Warrington) who has achieved Specialist Registration with UKPHR.
  • DsPH would like to thank Jayne Wood and colleagues in the COVID testing and immunisation teams for their work in leading the programmes across C&M.