The Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the December meetings are as follows:

  1. Exceedance report – Sam Ghebrehewet from PHE NW confirmed that rates are now rising again across C&M. Sam will update the C&M Escalation Framework and provide a regular update of key indicators including doubling time of infections.
  2. Contact Tracing
    a) Workshop – Julie Webster outlined the key areas of focus regarding the hub/local interface, training and development of staff across the system, interoperability of IT and developing a future health protection model for C&M. A communications briefing was circulated following the workshop. Martin Smith joined the DsPH to talk through the new C&M online training being developed by University of Liverpool.
    b) Christmas cover - The Hub will be operating business as usual Monday to Sunday 9am - 5pm, including Bank Holidays.
  3. Community Testing – An evidence review and communications pack were shared and DsPH thanked teams and partners for the tremendous effort in establishing the new asymptomatic testing services across the nine local places, including support from the military in Liverpool City Region and the fire and rescue service in Cheshire & Warrington.
  4. Testing in schools – DsPH discussed the ask of secondary schools to roll out testing in the New Year, with a very tight timescale. It was agreed to collate the local approaches and share learning.
  5. Health inequalities and working with the Health & Care Partnership (HCP) –  It was agreed that there was a need to discuss further the implications of changes in CCGs/integrated models and the HCP becoming an Integrated Care System in April. DsPH will participate in a strategic workshop and identify dedicated public health capacity to lead this work with the HCP.
  6. Support for care homes – Hazel Summers joined the DsPH in her new role as Regional Assurance Lead working for DHSC on care homes. Hazel will be supporting DsPH, Directors of Adult Social Care and care homes by looking at risk factors, raising local issues with Government and sharing good practice on infection prevention and control.
  7. Good news and gratitude:
    • The Spread the Facts campaign has had 76,000 views on You Tube in the first two weeks www.spreadthefacts.co.uk
    • The Stay Alive app has 4,692 new users since the launch of the campaign in October.
    • More flu vaccinations have been administered to date than the whole of last year so uptake is very encouraging.
    • Cervical screening appointments are now up to date following some delays during COVID.
    • DsPH and their teams were thanked by colleagues for their leadership throughout the COVID crisis and DsPH thanked PHE NW, particularly Sam Ghebrehewet for his specialist advice and the Champs support team for their support.