The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) met for their weekly call on Friday 4 September and the following items were discussed.

Good news and gratitude:

  1. DsPH would like to thank all colleagues who have been dealing with the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in C&M including colleagues working in the C&M testing group, PHE and local teams. Your hard work and dedication is appreciated.
  2. A huge thank you to Sue Forster, Director of Public Health (DPH) St Helens, as she steps down from her year as Chair of the Champs DsPH Board and welcome to Ian Ashworth, DPH Cheshire West & Chester, as he becomes Chair.

New approach for vaccinations – Terry Whalley, COVID-19 Testing Director for C&M, presented a paper to DsPH setting out some of the challenges as we move into winter with flu and COVID-19. The paper proposed a new approach to carrying out flu vaccinations for this year’s new cohort (50-64 year olds) and preparing the infrastructure for a possible COVID-19 vaccine. The C&M Testing group will evolve into the C&M Testing and Vaccination Group which the DsPH endorsed.

C&M Hub update – Julie Webster and Sam Ghebrehewet updated that the C&M TT Hub had been extremely busy (week ending 6th September) focusing on cases and contact tracing for complex settings and had seen an increase in cases. A workshop will be held with DsPH, PHE and the TT Hub team to look at how to manage the additional cases being escalated to the Hub from Tier 2 (National) with the focus also being in a safe and resilient system.

Schools task force – Sam Ghebrehewet and the team at PHE have updated the national guidance for schools in the event of an outbreak. Cases in schools should be referred to the Hub but it is helpful if local authorities can continue to deal with any queries.

Data update – The COVID-19 dashboard was circulated and several areas have had increases in cases this week. DsPH talked about key messages that need to go out to businesses that are not COVID safe and Liverpool have started a campaign on this already.

New Vice-Chair of the Champs DsPH Board – Sarah McNulty, DPH Knowsley, will become Vice-Chair of the Champs DsPH Board, supporting Ian Ashworth. Congratulations to Sarah.