Welcome to the May issue of the Champs news round up containing news, stories and informative updates from Champs Public Health Collaborative and the wider public health teams across Cheshire and Merseyside. 

Directors' news

Key messages from the Directors of Public Health

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) met on Friday 13th May for their system leadership meeting, the key messages from which are:
  1. The Directors of Public Health (DsPH) discussed the contribution to the Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). An overview of health and wellbeing in C&M has been produced which looked at the health and wellbeing needs and priorities to inform the STP. The DsPH thanked Wirral Council Public Health Intelligence team for their support in the production of the overview report.
  2. Eileen O’Meara, DPH for Halton, updated the group on the development of a new health and wellbeing strategy as part of Devolution in Liverpool City Region (LCR).
  3. Eileen O’Meara is now the DPH representative on the Directors of Children’s Services Board for LCR and leading a new JSNA.
  4. The DsPH had an update on a recent meeting of the Cheshire and Warrington Public Services Transformation Board, which also has representation from Wirral and Halton. The Board oversees public service transformation in Cheshire & Warrington (C&W) and public health has been asked to feed into the evolving strategy that is being developed for the Chief Executive’s Management Board.
  5. Fiona Johnstone, DPH for Wirral, gave the DsPH an update on the new alcohol Licensing work stream that has evolved from supporting Devolution. There are six areas that will be explored by the working group to assess their viability including:
  • Enforcing current law
  • Community champions, learning from work in Greater Manchester
  • Joint frameworks for licensing strategies and policies
  • Developing guidance for anyone making representations around licence applications
  • Essential training for responsible authorities and licensing committees
  • Local voluntary agreements
      6.The DsPH received a number of reports on the Public Health Collaborative including:
  • An end of year performance report which was very well received and DsPH commented on the great progress made on the key priorities including high blood pressure and suicide prevention.
  • The Public Health Collaborative Delivery Plan for Year 2, 2016-17, which was approved by the DsPH.
  • A communications and engagement plan for the Public Health Collaborative was presented and approved. Communications plans for the key Collaborative priorities will be shared so that local areas can also support activity.
  • A finance paper which was approved and the DsPH welcomed the external income that has been generated to the value of £348K. This income includes resources from an Health Education England bid and will support the workforce training for high blood pressure and mental health and wellbeing for children and young people.
  1. Mel Sirotkin, Centre Director at PHE gave an update on the recent consultation with health and wellbeing, healthcare public health and screening and immunisation teams and Sam Ghebrehewet gave an Emergency Planning update including the implications of the recent Bluebird exercise.
  2. Julie Kelly from NHS England gave an update on the screening and immunisation review, breast screening services and informed the DsPH that Dr Kieran Murphy, Medical Director for NHS England Cheshire & Merseyside, will also now become Medical Director for the Lancashire area team.

The next DsPH meeting will be a strategic planning session on Friday 17th June.

High blood pressure news

Saving lives: Reducing the pressure - Cheshire and Merseyside launch its strategy to tackle high blood pressure

On 17th May 2016, World Hypertension Day, Cheshire & Merseyside launched its 5 year cross-sector blood pressure strategy. The strategy is the culmination of two years iterative sub-regional developments across Cheshire & Merseyside and sets out the vision, aims, objectives and high level action plan for the prevention, detection and management of high blood pressure.
At the heart of the strategy is the vision to ensure local communities have the best possible blood pressure and that Cheshire & Merseyside becomes the most improved sub-region in England for blood pressure outcomes.
The strategy is being led by the Cheshire & Merseyside Blood Pressure Partnership Board. Co-chair of the Board Cllr Janet Clowes of Cheshire East Council said “I am extremely pleased to see the launch of our new blood pressure strategy. With 625,000 people in Cheshire & Merseyside affected by high blood pressure and almost half of this number thought to be unaware that they have the condition, it’s critical we take urgent action to prevent, identify and manage people at risk of developing serious diseases such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure and chronic kidney disease”.
Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, lead Director of Public Health for high blood pressure in Cheshire & Merseyside said “This strategy is an exciting development, much progress has been made so far but this now gives us a clear focus for how we will go about tackling high blood pressure in our sub-region. A great deal of hard work and consultation has gone into the production of the strategy and I would like to thank our partners for their fantastic contributions. I am now looking forward to working together across the system to make our vision a reality.”
Read the “Saving lives: Reducing the pressure” five year cross-sector blood pressure strategy here.

Blood pressure strategy backed by world leaders in Canada 

To inform the development of the Cheshire & Merseyside blood pressure strategy, Cheshire & Merseyside learnt from world leaders in Canada who developed the Pan-Canadian Framework for tackling high blood pressure.
Professor Norm Campbell from the University of Calgary in Canada, who led the Pan-Canadian Framework and shared his learning with the Cheshire & Merseyside team said “The Cheshire and Merseyside cross-sector blood pressure strategy is exactly what is needed to combat the world’s leading risk for death and disability. It provides a state of the art, comprehensive approach to hypertension and will serve as a model for other programmes around the globe. I have already used it to challenge people in the Canadian system to up their ante.”
The Cheshire & Merseyside blood pressure strategy is now a global resource and is featured on the World Hypertension League website to share good practice.

Primary care workshop focuses on high blood pressure

A half day workshop enabled primary care colleagues to contribute their ideas and suggestions to tackle high blood pressure in Cheshire & Merseyside. The workshop also shared current and proposed work relevant to primary care and colleagues were able to attend parallel sessions around community pharmacies, community partners, education and training and quality improvement.
The next steps will now be to process the rich insight gained for the four work streams and a summary of key themes will be shared.
For further information, please contact

World Hypertension Day, 17th May 2016

This year the theme of World Hypertension Day was “Know your numbers” and the aim was to achieve 3 million screenings worldwide.
The Cheshire & Merseyside Blood Pressure Partnership Board members played their part in helping to achieve this by having their own blood pressure checked at their recent meeting, courtesy of the Stroke Association who are also members of the Board.
Wirral Public Health team also ran community screenings and checked over 300 people! These figures will be fed back to the World Hypertension League.
To submit screenings for World Hypertension Day click here 

Cllr Janet Clowes, Co-Chair of Cheshire & Merseyside Blood Pressure Partnership Board has blood pressure checked for World Hypertension Day 2016.

Mental Health and Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention News

New lead for Suicide Prevention

Following Rita Robertson’s retirement, Sue Forster, Interim DPH at St Helens Council has agreed to become lead DPH for Suicide Prevention in Cheshire & Merseyside and will chair the next meeting of the Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Prevention Board. Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director for Mersey Care, who co-chaired the Board with Rita Robertson has decided to step down after taking on a new national role although he and Mersey Care will remain an integral part of the Board. The DsPH wish to thank David for his excellent leadership as Chair and great contribution to this key priority and look forward to continuing to work with him.

Sue Forster, Interim DPH St Helens and Chair of Cheshire & Merseyside Suicide Prevention Board.

Suicide risk factors identified across Cheshire and Merseyside

The Cheshire & Merseyside Joint Suicide Audit has been completed and was presented to the DsPH at their March meeting. 200 case notes were analysed and some of the key learnings are:
  • Only three in ten people were employed.
  • Five people were born in Eastern Europe.
  • Domestic violence was recorded in 7% of cases.
  • In 9% of cases, the person had a family member or friend who had previously completed a suicide.
  • In 38% of cases there was a previous suicide attempt recorded
  • Most people had visited their GP in the previous year. In 24% of cases, the person had contact with health services in the week before they died.
  • In the three months before they died, 30% of all people had specifically visited their GP for a mental health reason.
The findings highlight a number of issues not previously quantified and suggest groups relevant for interventions.
The audit will inform the priorities within the “NO MORE” zero suicide strategy and one key priority is training in suicide prevention interventions for primary care.
A very big thank you to St Helens Intelligence Lead, Steve Knuckey and other local authority intelligence leads for compiling this important report.

For further information please contact

Suicide audit data workshop held

A workshop was held with the Cheshire & Merseyside local authority public health leads, intelligence leads and with the Coroners’ for Cheshire and Merseyside to look at a standardised approach to recording data across C&M.
The standardised approach will ensure future audits contain accurate and meaningful data. Real-time surveillance was also discussed which could identify clusters and enable local authority teams to implement a community response plan.
For further information please contact

Sharing international lessons with Australia

A visit by Suicide Prevention Australia to the UK has enabled the “NO MORE” zero suicide strategy to be shared. Colleagues from PHE recommended Cheshire and Merseyside’s work as an example of good practice. The charity was particularly interested in lessons that can be learned from cross sector collaboration/projects and stakeholder engagement.
Read the Cheshire & Merseyside NO MORE suicide strategy.

Promoting resilience and wellbeing in children - Youth Connect Five training in plan for Autumn start

Following funding from Health Education England, training is currently being commissioned for the Cheshire & Merseyside workforce that aims to ensure that families and carers gain the understanding, knowledge, skills and tools to support and promote resilience and wellbeing for children and young people. 
The training will also build confidence to talk about emotional wellbeing and ensure parents and carers are familiar with how to access information, support and services. The Youth Connect Five programme will use a Train the Trainer cascade model with the frontline wider workforce.
For further information, please contact

Champs Public Health Collaborative News

Be a lover, not a fighter campaign shortlisted for NICE shared learning award 2016

The Cheshire & Merseyside domestic abuse campaign “Be a lover, not a fighter”, which was delivered in 2015 and repeated in February 2016 to include Lancashire, has been shortlisted for a NICE shared learning award. This year’s campaign highlighted the impact on children and the campaign engaged with 60,000 people via events, social media and the website.

To view the campaign on the NICE Local Practice Collection website click here

5 ways to wellbeing campaign rolled out for Mental Health Week

The new “Make time” campaign, a public facing campaign utilising the 5 ways to wellbeing, was rolled out in several local authority areas for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, w/c 16 May. The materials were developed by the Champs Collaborative mental health leads for local delivery and evaluation.
An overall evaluation report will be compiled later in the year to measure the effectiveness of the campaign with members of the public.

New Patient Group Directions (PGDs) for Emergency Hormonal Contraception

The Champs Collaborative commissioning leads have developed two new PGDs for use across the nine Cheshire & Merseyside local authorities.
A working group consisting of a Lead Pharmacist, a Consultant in Reproductive and Sexual Health, a representative of community pharmacists and local commissioners of sexual health services oversaw all aspects of PGD development. The PGDs have been signed by a doctor with relevant expertise and a pharmacist, both of whom have been involved in developing the directions, as per NICE guidance. 
The PGDs are for use in community pharmacies by appropriately trained individuals.

For further information contact

CPD and Events News

The Divide private screening prompts lively debate on inequalitites

Over 100 guests from across Cheshire & Merseyside local authorities, health and academia attended a private screening of The Divide film on Tuesday 19th April at FACT in Liverpool.

Hosted by Broadcaster Jim Hancock and delivered by Champs Public Health Collaborative with partners Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool and CLAHRC NWC, the screening was opened by Margaret Carney, Chief Executive of Sefton Council and Lead Chief Executive for Health and Wellbeing in Liverpool City Region and Matthew Ashton, Joint Director of Public Health for Sefton and Knowsley Councils and Chair of Champs Public Health Collaborative Executive Board.

The screening was ahead of the film’s general release on 22nd April and Katharine Round, Producer/Director of the film was a special guest and took part in a Q&A session following the film.

The Divide is the film version of a book called The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better which was published in 2009.

The film was extremely well received in Cheshire & Merseyside and welcomed by those attending as an effective way of raising awareness of how inequality affects the health and wellbeing of society as a whole, not just those who are in difficulty.

A panel discussion followed the film screening and panel members, who gave their reactions to the film, included Margaret Carney and Katharine Round along with Jim McVeigh, Director of the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, Dr Jane Rossini, Deputy Director, Public Health England North West and Dr David Taylor-Robinson, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Department of Public Health and Policy, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool.

Matthew Ashton said “I am pleased that we were able to bring this film to Cheshire & Merseyside, it’s a film that everyone should see. The debate raised some important issues for Cheshire & Merseyside and I hope the film has inspired colleagues to do what they can to raise awareness of these issues and work together to help close the inequality gap”.

The Divide film will be shown again at FACT in Liverpool, following its general cinema release, on Tuesday 31 May and more details are available here.

L-R: Jim Hancock, Margaret Carney, Jane Rossini, Katharine Round, David Taylor-Robinson, Matthew Ashton, Jim McVeigh at the private screening of The Divide.

Upcoming events

The Innovation Agency "Hackathon" workshop for Care Homes, 13 and 14 July, Liverpool.
For more information click here

PHE conference, 13 and 14 September, University of Warwick
Theme: Evidence into action, click here for further information and to book your place. 
Save the date: Health Equity North Conference 11 and 12 October 2016, Hull
Theme: Devolution: a game changer for health inequalities?
For the latest Champs CPD and events calendar, click here
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