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

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

  1. Tobacco dependency programme – Rebecca Mellor from Wirral Council updated the DsPH on progress on the Cheshire and Merseyside NHSE/I funded tobacco dependence treatment programme. A key focus will be on providing treatment for inpatients and ensuring support remains in place following hospital discharge. Colleagues will work with hospital trusts in C&M on a series of workshops, needs assessment and gap analysis to understand what is in place already. The C&M tobacco control forum will act as the steering group for this work and will report into the Health & Care Partnership Population Health Board.
  2. PHE COVID-19 update – Sam Ghebrehewet from PHE North West updated that there is now a decline in the number of cases nationally and locally. There are still outbreaks in care homes and other settings such as workplaces. Sam updated DsPH on what is known so far about the new guidance for schools which is expected imminently. DsPH also discussed winter planning and agreed to cover this in more detail at the next meeting.
  3. Quarantine hotels – DsPH discussed the new arrangements for COVID-19 quarantine hotels in C&M and agreed to escalate issues of concern to the two LRFs.
  4. Access to testing – DsPH raised the issue of access to community testing which will still be required in addition to home testing. This will be picked up at a future meeting with the C&M testing lead.
  5. Good news and gratitude:
  • DsPH said a fond farewell to Halton’s DPH Eileen O’Meara at her last DsPH meeting before she retires. Ifeoma Onyia will take over as interim DPH from Monday 9 August.
  • Several councils have been shortlisted for the forthcoming LGC awards including Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West & Chester Council and St Helens. Champs Collaborative has also been shortlisted in the Campaign of the Year category for Spread the facts, not the virus. Well done and good luck to everyone.