Welcome to the November issue of the Champs news round up containing news, stories and informative updates from across the Champs Public Health Collaborative in Cheshire and Merseyside and relaying news on national Public Health priorities.  

Directors' news

The DsPH met for their system leadership meeting on 11 November and the key messages are as follows:-

1. Good news from around the Collaborative

a. The DsPH were informed that the Commons Health Select Committee were visiting Cheshire & Merseyside on 14 November to hear about the strong collaboration on suicide prevention.  The visit would include presentations from State of Mind Rugby and Everton in the Community as well as Amparo the suicide liaison service in Cheshire & Merseyside. Read the full story below.

b. The Chair of the Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Prevention Board & Interim DPH for St Helens, Sue Forster, took part in a film produced by PHE and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance on support following suicide and the commissioning of Amparo. The film will be shown at a series of regional PHE masterclasses and it will be available via the Champs website shortly.

c. The Champs Collaborative has been interviewed as a case study in the LGA annual report for public health, the report will be shared when available.

d. St Helens #10,000 minutes Time to Talk campaign and Liverpool’s Drink less, enjoy more campaign were both shortlisted in the Campaign of the Year category for the 2017 LGC awards. Good luck to both councils.

e. Halton Council’s health improvement team were finalists in the RSPH awards in the Improving Health category, just pipped at the post by Jamie Oliver!

f. Cheshire East Council have just launched their One You integrated services.

g. Warrington Council has launched their “Prevention Hub” which aligns resources with other areas in the Council such as Housing.

2. Case for Change shared in Cheshire & Warrington - The Case for Change report of interventions to improve health and wellbeing was shared with the Cheshire & Warrington Public Service Transformation Board who requested some extra public health support around worklessness.  Fiona Reynolds, DPH Cheshire West and Chester, will be taking the report to the Sub-regional management board in Cheshire & Warrington for their endorsement.

3. Joint working with Environmental Health - The DsPH were delighted to welcome Dave Watson, Regulatory Services Unit Manager at Warrington Council and Chair of the Environmental Health Officers (EHO) Group in Cheshire & Merseyside. It was agreed that, along with PHE, there would be collaborative work on Air Quality and Fiona Reynolds, DPH in Cheshire West and Chester will support this. It was also agreed that the EHO group would support the Licensing work already underway in Cheshire & Merseyside.

4. The Champs/PHE CPD event on maintaining safe and well communities focusing on Influenza was well attended on 10th November with excellent feedback from the day. The presentations, including some excellent videos, from the event can be viewed here

5. C&M Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) prevention priorities – The prevention priorities of high blood pressure, alcohol harm reduction and antimicrobial resistance, along with their Project Initiation documents (PIDs), have now been included in the latest submission of the C&M STP. The DsPH are awaiting feedback from NHS England and there will be a further iteration of the document in the New Year. There will be a new task and finish group set up to develop action plans from the PIDs.

6. CCGs briefed on blood pressure – Each CCG in Cheshire & Merseyside received a joint Champs/PHE briefing with personalised data and opportunities for improving their blood pressure indicators and outcomes. An example letter was shared with DsPH who agreed that this was a useful resource for CCGs. CCGs will be further supported by the production of a blood pressure tool kit and education programme.

7. Quality Surveillance Group update – It was agreed by DsPH that there is a need for a collective approach for escalating issues to QSG and a framework developed by Halton will be shared.

8. PHE update – PHE updated the DsPH on the new Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) awareness campaign that will be launched in January. The campaign will be piloted in the Granada TV region.

9. NHS England update – The NHS England commissioning intentions document has been shared with DsPH and NHSE will meet with all DsPH through December and January to discuss commissioning plans.

The next meeting of the DsPH will be their Board meeting on 16th December.


Champs Public Health Collaborative News

New Appointments 

Champs Public Health Collaborative would like to extend congratulations to a number of colleagues who have taken on new roles and challenges within the Collaborative.
Following a period as Acting Director of Public Health at Warrington Borough Council, Dr Muna Abdel Aziz (pictured leftnow takes up the role on a permanent basis. The DsPH are delighted as Muna is a highly valued member of the DsPH Board.
Ifeoma Onyia, Public Health Consultant at Halton Borough Council will take on a part time role that will see her join Champs as Blood Pressure Education and Training Lead.  Ifeoma will provide much needed support with the new education and training programme and development of the blood pressure pathway. This role is funded from the successful Health Education England bid.
Following the recent departure of Chris Williamson, who left his post as Cheshire and Merseyside Intelligence Network Lead, Champs would like to welcome Steve Knuckey from St Helens and Sharon McAteer from Halton who will jointly lead on Public health Intelligence for the Collaborative going forward.
Congratulations also go to Dr Melanie Roche, (pictured right) from the Champs Support Team who achieved her Consultant in Public Health status this month. Mel leads the successful work on the high blood pressure priority.

Developing a Cheshire & Merseyside approach to reducing alcohol harm: Licensing

Health harm from alcohol remains a significant issue for the C&M DsPH.
Alcohol misuse across Cheshire and Merseyside (C&M) costs around £994 million each year (£412 per head of population). Of these costs, only £218 million are direct costs to the NHS. Harm from alcohol, therefore, remains a significant issue for C&M local authorities and partners. The C&M DsPH have identified licensing as an area where there is an opportunity to take action on a larger footprint that would complement local alcohol strategy work.
All of the work areas within this new workstream attempt to address health harms via the current licensing process by attempting to embed common practice across the region, by creating greater awareness and local responsibility and by addressing short term issues to ease the pressure on ambulance services, A&E departments and Police.
The next steering group meeting is to be held on the 9th December 2016. An event to share some of the learning with local colleagues is planned for the New Year.

Champs responds to UK-wide soft drinks levy consultation

Champs Public Health Collaborative, on behalf of the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health, recently submitted a joint response to HM Revenue and Customs regarding a consultation on a new UK-wide Soft Drinks Industry Levy. The levy (to be introduced in April 2018) will apply to the production and importation of soft drinks containing added sugar.

Obesity levels are rising across the country and there is concern that sugary drinks are a key catalyst in rising levels particularly in childhood obesity cases.
The consultation sets out proposals for how the levy will be designed and implemented.
Thanks goes to Robin Ireland, Chief Executive at Health Equalities Group for preparing the response.
The Department of Health explained more about the levy in their online document Soft Drinks Industry Levy: 12 things you should know

'Exemplar' STP prevention plans  


The detailed project initiation documents (PIDs), prepared for the next submission of the C&M STP were shared with the Directors of Public Health at the October board meeting. The DsPH commented that the PIDs were extremely high quality and would like to thank colleagues across the system who worked on them.


The PIDs for reducing alcohol harm, high blood pressure and Antimicrobial Resistance were submitted as part of the Prevention and Demand Management at Scale workstream within the STP and the STP working group have since fed back that the PIDs were considered exemplars.


A briefing on the public health contribution to the STP can be found here.


Stoptober update

An impressive number of people signed up to take part in Stoptober 2016 seeing thousands of people from across England committed to the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England. The Challenge encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good.
Stoptober is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good. .
Eileen O’Meara, Chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health Executive Board and Director of Public Health and Public Protection, Halton Borough Council said: “Well done to everyone who successfully took part in Stoptober this year in Cheshire and Merseyside. We know it can be hard. If you missed Stoptober or found it difficult to stay smokefree in October, it’s never too late to start your own 28 day quit attempt.
“Although Stoptober has ended there is still a wide range of support available. Local stop smoking services provide free advice and support and advisers are available throughout the year.”

Click here for quit tips from PHE

Pharmacy health promotion campaigns January 2017 - March 2018

NHS England Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) are supporting 8 Public Health Campaigns over the next 15 months through the Pharmacy Local Professional Network. The 8 campaigns will be run through every community pharmacy in C&M, in addition to Healthy Living Pharmacies (HLP).

The campaigns selected to run over the next 15 months are:

  • January 2017 Alcohol awareness
  • February 2017 Antimicrobial resistance
  • April 2017 Bowel cancer awareness
  • June 2017 Blood pressure awareness
  • October 2017 Stoptober
  • November 2017 Winter Health
  • January 2018 Alcohol awareness
  • February 2018 Antimicrobial resistance

Local Public Health teams are invited to take this opportunity to work closely with community pharmacy colleagues to enable the delivery of better outcomes for joint campaigns in each locality.

A copy of the letter being sent to local community pharmacies can be found on the Champs website.


Mental Health and Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention News

Champs welcomes Health Select Committee to discuss Suicide prevention

Champs Public Health Collaborative were honoured to welcome the Health Select Committee on Monday 14th November to discuss the causes of suicide and barriers to prevention.

The Committee used the visit to learn more about the strong collaboration in Cheshire and Merseyside on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention and the system leadership driving the NO MORE Suicide Strategy. 

(Image caption: Sarah Wollaston MP, leads Q&A session with Committee members and members of the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Network) 

There was a rich discussion which enabled learning for all and key discussion areas included: Achieving a suicide safer community, interventions to transform health care to eliminate patient suicide, postvention to prevent further deaths and real time surveillance. A touching account of how suicide support services have helped one bereaved mother was part of the visit, giving the Committee an emotional account of the support received from Amparo, the suicide liaison service in Cheshire & Merseyside and Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) following the loss of her son.

The Committee also heard about Amparo themselves and other initiatives such as State of Mind Rugby and Everton in the Community that focus on men’s health and wellbeing.

The visit ended with an open Q&A session where committee members could ask about specific elements of the NO MORE Strategy and its implementation and future evaluation.

Chair of the Health Select Committee, Sarah Wollaston MP said the evidence presented at the event was 'compelling'.

Sue Forster, Chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Board and Interim Director of Public Health at St Helens said: ‘We were extremely honoured that the Health Select Committee chose to visit Cheshire and Merseyside and that they were keen to see the best practice taking place here. Our NO MORE Suicide Strategy is making great progress and is clearly becoming a focus of national attention. We are immensely proud of the achievements made to date and we are certain that these successes were apparent to the visiting Committee. We hope that what they learned will be useful and will inform their Parliamentary report.’

To read the NO MORE strategy please visit

Champs commissioning of Suicide Liaison Service, Amparo, filmed for masterclasses


PHE and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) are developing a series of regional Masterclasses on Suicide Prevention, following the recent local authority guidance on local suicide prevention planning.

A series of films have been produced to be shown at the Masterclasses and Champs took part in a short film on how the Amparo suicide liaison service was commissioned. Filming took place on Wednesday 9th November.

Sue Forster, Lead Director of Public Health for Suicide Prevention and Chair of the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Board, who was interviewed for the film said: ‘It’s great news that our work in this area continues to be highlighted nationally.'

The film will be available on the Champs website in due course.


Champs called on as expert advisors for local authority suicide prevention planning guidance 


Pat Nicholl, Mental Health Lead, Champs Support Team has recently been part of an expert reference group to help create a joint report from PHE and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) called Local suicide prevention planning guidance for local authorities.


The collaborative approach to preventing suicide in Cheshire & Merseyside has been featured as a case study in the report providing further opportunity to highlight on a national platform the hard work of everyone working across the system on this priority.


Pat recently received a letter from PHE and the NSPA thanking her for her time and effort in helping produce the guidance.



Champs rolls out free training programme to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people in the community

Starting this month, the 9 local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside will be rolling out the Youth Connect 5 training programme. The initial pilot phase will see the roll out of a ‘train the trainer’ programme that will train relevant members of the professional workforce who will then deliver two five-part courses to parents and carers in their area.

The courses will equip parents and carers with the skills and understanding they need to enable them and their children to develop resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Funded by Champs Public Health Collaborative through a bid made to Health Education England, the training, facilitated by Merseyside Youth Association, will see trainers deliver the free of charge five-part course to parents and carers that will:

  • Build upon parents and carers knowledge, empathy, skills and attributes to promote and strengthen children and young people’s resilience and emotional wellbeing
  • Strengthen parents’ and carers own levels of resilience
  • Increase confidence and ability to explore different ways to support their children; and
  • Improve/enhance relationships parents/carers have with their children

Sandra Davies, Lead Director of Public Health for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Director of Public Health for Liverpool said: “The emotional wellbeing of our communities is very high on our agenda. We recognise that many adults presenting with mental health issues have commonly developed the problems during childhood. Our aim with this training is to address problems long before they become a serious health condition by providing parents, carers and the children and young people within our communities with the skills and knowledge they need to build resilience and start to build beneficial and conducive relationships.”

A dedicated website, has been developed along with various social media platforms including Twitter (@YouthConnect5) and Facebook. These will enable the sharing of knowledge and resources and raise awareness of the importance placed on the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. Parents and carers will be recruited by trainers, however anyone interested in taking part in the course can register their interest via the website.

Key members of the workforce who will undertake the initial training could include professionals working closely with children and young people, and their families, including: teachers, social workers, youth workers, children’s centres, public health specialists, family and parenting services, college support services, school nurses/mental health leads, employers.
Courses will ensure parents and carers are familiar with how to access information, support and services available to them.

More information on the Youth Connect 5 programme can be found via:

View the Youth Connect 5 briefing document on the Champs website.


Champs to present at Suicide Prevention Masterclass

Pat Nicholl, Mental Wellbeing Lead for the Champs Support Team has been invited to present at the forthcoming PHE & National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) Implementation Support on Suicide Prevention Masterclasses.
The event will take place on 29th November in Manchester and will see Pat discuss the implementation of the nationally recognised NO MORE Suicide Strategy for Cheshire and Merseyside, highlighting the key drivers behind the strategy.

Steve Knuckey from St Helens will present around the topic of real time surveillance and Katie Donnelly from Warrington will deliver a presentation on support after a suicide.
All presentations will be posted on the Champs website in due course.


High blood pressure news

Champs through to stage 2 of British Heart Foundation funding programme 

Following the submission of an expression of interest to the British Heart Foundation for funding for work to detect high blood pressure, Champs has been invited through to stage 2. This next stage requires the completion of the full application to apply for up to £100,000 of total funding over 2 years.
Applications completion deadline is end January 2017. Updates will be communicated in future news bulletins and on the Champs website.


Halton hosts blood pressure workshop

Halton Borough Council hosted a blood pressure workshop on 9th November welcoming many delegates including invitees from Clinical Commissioning Groups and Primary Care staff and colleagues from Warrington and Halton hospitals.

The workshop focused on the Halton local blood pressure strategy which is based on the Champs "Saving lives: Reducing the pressure" Cheshire & Merseyside five year cross-sector strategy. GP’s were in attendance to discuss variation in practice and Dr Mel Roche, Lead for High Blood Pressure in the Champs Support Team gave further insight into the system leadership approach driving the C&M wide high blood pressure priority.

Cheshire & Merseyside Blood Pressure Partnership Board Meeting

A year after its formation, the Cheshire & Merseyside Blood Pressure Partnership Board met on 18th November to discuss progress to date and to agree the next steps required to continue driving the implementation of the Cheshire & Merseyside five year cross-sector strategy.

Key discussions included:
  • PHE report on hypertension variation in C&M and local high blood pressure benchmarking and improvement opportunities for CCGs
  • Future Sector Led Improvement Workshops
  • NICE insight work and guidance review
  • Beacon Practices in Wirral - exemplars of good practice
  • STP - PID made case for tackling high blood pressure
  • British Heart Foundation funding programme
The Board will next meet again in 6 months.


CPD and Events News

Ensuring safe and resilient communities event welcomes over 40 delegates

A joint Champs/PHE CPD event focusing on Influenza, attracted over 40 delegates earlier this month.

Seasonal influenza causes substantial illness and death and the impact of flu seasons are unpredictable. 

The event provided delegates with an understanding of:
  • the wider impact of influenza, and the mortality and morbidity associated with Influenza
  • national policy on management of influenza and consideration of the research and evidence relating to the public health management of Influenza
  • the opportunities and challenges for vaccination against seasonal Influenza
  • the framework for managing and responding to flu cases, outbreaks and pandemics.
Attendees included: Health Protection Practitioners, Infection Control Specialists, Emergency Preparedness Teams and Medial Microbiologist.

Following the event feedback was provided with comments including:
"It was important to see the collaborative planning between health and social care."

"The event gave me a greater understanding of actions required in a flu season"


New "learning hubs" to be included in Champs CPD calendar  

Learning hubs, aimed at practitioners within public health teams and wider local authority teams who wish to increase their public health knowledge, will be included in the Champs CPD calendar from 2017.

Following feedback from local Collaborative Links and supported by Directors of Public health, several local authority areas have volunteered to host a learning hub and the first one is planned for January in Warrington, topic to be confirmed.

Upcoming events

Licensing Workshop
Planned for February/March 2017
This workshop will aim to share learning from the Collaborative programme of work on reducing alcohol harm via Licensing

Blood Pressure event
Planned for April 2017
This will be a "one year on" event to celebrate success of the Cheshire & Merseyside 'Saving lives: Reducing the pressure' blood pressure strategy and work on next steps.

Dates are currently being agreed for the above events so please keep your eye on the events section on the Champs website for more details.   
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