Connect 44

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IN THIS ISSUE • Spotlight on our vaccination programme • Tackling system pressures together • ICS development latest updates

ISSUE 44 13 January 2022

Happy New Year! Firstly, thank you to so many of you who worked over the Christmas period to continue keeping people safe and well. Cheshire and Merseyside is very lucky to have such dedicated, compassionate people who put our communities’ health and wellbeing front and centre of all you do. That said, I hope you all had an opportunity to rest and recharge as it’s so important to look after your own wellbeing during these challenging times. Since the last Connect, there has been and continues to be an incredible collective effort to ramp up the Covid vaccination and booster programme. People have been redeployed to increase capacity and new schemes have been rolled out to reach and protect our local communities. Our work attracted significant media coverage which showcased the creative solutions and impact on people’s lives across our patch. You should be very proud. Find out more about our impressive teamwork on pages 10-11. However, infection rates remain on the rise and we must redouble our efforts to encourage people to ‘grab a jab’. It really is our best defence against Covid and significantly reduces impact of the virus, likelihood of hospitalisation or death from Covid, and it is effective at reducing transmission. So, please keep spreading the word. A new target date of 1 July 2022 has been confirmed for implementation of the new statutory integrated care arrangements. This will not slow us down. We continue to progress our readiness for statutory status at pace. Pages 4-5 explain more about the new date and what it means. 2022 will be a year of change, bringing exciting opportunities and new challenges. Together, we will achieve great things. As always, if you have a story to tell or a success to celebrate, let us know by emailing And don’t forget to cascade and share Connect with your staff and stakeholders. Chris Hughes, Executive Director of Communications and Engagement

Inside this edition: Page 3: Covid-19 vaccine urged for pregnant women Page 4: ICS development Page 7: Tackling system pressures Page 8: Five million vaccine milestone Page 10: Shining a spotlight on our vaccination programme Page 12: People professions recognition Page 13: Get a seat at the table Page 14: Ovarian cancer – spot the signs Page 16: Preview of Cheshire and Merseyside’s Marmot review Page 18: Anchor institution webinar Page 19: Reducing deaths from heart attacks and stroke Page 20: New year, improved you Page 22: Sheena Cumiskey to retire Page 23: Nurse awarded prestigious title Page 24: Changing lives through IT

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Pregnant women urged to get their Covid-19 vaccine The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is calling on all pregnant women to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

at any stage of pregnancy. It is also safe for women undergoing fertility treatment or those planning a pregnancy soon.

There is growing evidence showing that women who are pregnant are at increased risk of serious consequences from Covid-19 and, as a result, they should be considered a clinical risk group within the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“We understand the concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy, but we want to reassure women there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and an increased risk of infertility or pregnancy complications.

Given the majority of pregnant women who have been admitted to hospital with severe Covid-19 are unvaccinated, the key priority is to increase the number of pregnant women completing their primary course (two vaccine doses eight weeks apart). Recent data published by the UK Health Security Agency adds to the existing international evidence, which has not identified any safety concerns from vaccinating women during pregnancy. Additional efforts focused on improving vaccine uptake amongst pregnant women will require a coordinated response from professional groups, including midwifery, charities and support from local community leaders. Pregnant women who have completed their primary vaccine course should book their Covid-19 booster if they had their second vaccine dose at least three months earlier. Dr Alice Bird, a Consultant Obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said: “The Covid-19 vaccine is safe to have and is effective

“We are seeing more and more pregnant women in Liverpool becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 and we have witnessed the impact this has had on them and their families. They have all been unvaccinated. “It is crucial women who are pregnant are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and we would urge all pregnant women to have their vaccination as soon as possible.” As well as being able to book a dedicated appointment slot for Covid-19 and flu vaccinations at Liverpool Women’s Hospital now, pregnant women can also book to get a Covid-19-vaccine or booster dose online at or by calling 119. In addition, you can also search for nearby vaccination drop-in clinics via the national NHS booking system. For more details about how pregnant women can get vaccinated through Liverpool Women's Hospital or via the national vaccination service, visit:

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ICS development – new target date 1 July 2022 The Health and Care Bill, which intends to put Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) on a statutory footing and create Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), is currently being considered by Parliament. To allow sufficient time for the remaining parliamentary stages, a new target date of 1 July 2022 has been agreed for new statutory arrangements to take effect and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to be legally and operationally established. This replaces the previous target date of 1 April 2022.

Stakeholders are involved with the process for all appointments and place leads will either be joint appointments with the local authority or, where this is not yet possible, appointments will be made to the ICB with local authority input to the decision. “The new target date does, however, allow us to focus on the immediate demands of Covid, the ambitious booster programme and the operational practicalities that ensue.

This new target date will provide some extra flexibility to prepare for the new statutory arrangements and manage the immediate priorities in the pandemic response, while maintaining our momentum towards more effective system working.

“During my first few weeks, I have been greatly impressed by the commitment of all individuals and organisations to working in partnership. We are all agreed that, together, we can have a much greater impact on people’s lives.”

We are continuing to prepare for the closure of CCGs and the establishment of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board, working towards the new target date.

The establishment of statutory ICS arrangements, and timing for this, remains subject to the passage of legislation by Parliament.

Graham Urwin, Designate Chief Executive, said: “Please be assured that this short delay does not affect our priorities and what we are currently doing to achieve a smooth transition of staff and functions. Our work towardsorganisational redesign will continue at pace. If anything, the extra time will allow for better engagement with you, our partners, our communities and, of course, our staff. “In keeping with this mindset, recruitment processes are well underway for key leadership roles, non-executive directors and the Designate Chair. We will soon begin appointing to the positions of our nine place leads.

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Key questions What happens between 1 April and 1 July 2022? The first quarter of 2022/23 will now be an extension of the preparatory period.   During this period: • CCGs will remain in place as statutory organisations. They will retain all existing duties and functions and will conduct their business (collaboratively where appropriate), through existing governing bodies. • Our CCG leaders will work with designate ICB leaders on key decisions which will affect the future ICB, notably commissioning and contracting. • NHS England and Improvement will retain all direct commissioning responsibilities not already delegated to CCGs. Will this slow progress on integration, which has accelerated during the pandemic? Joint working arrangements have been in place at system level for some time, and there has already been significant progress in preparing for the proposed establishment of the statutory Integrated Care System, including recruitment of Graham Urwin as our ICB Designate Chief Executive. Designate ICB leaders will continue to develop system level plans for 2022/23 and prepare for the formal establishment of ICBs in line with the guidance previously set out by NHS England and Improvement and this updated timeline. What does the timing mean for establishing Integrated Care Partnerships? The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) guidance on establishing ICPs sets an expectation that all systems will have at least an interim ICP up and running at the point when the statutory arrangements come into effect and ICBs are formed. Local authority and designate ICB leaders will continue to work together to develop Cheshire and Merseyside ICP arrangements in line with the DHSC guidance, working to the revised target implementation date of 1 July 2022. Is this going ahead without the legislation? The establishment of statutory ICS arrangements is subject to the passage of the Health and Care Bill, which is currently being considered by Parliament. Some preparatory steps are necessary to enable the new arrangements to come into effect at the point of establishment if legislation is passed. This preparatory phase will now be extended to reflect the new target date.  Could the implementation date change? The establishment of statutory Integrated Care Systems is subject to the passage of the Health and Care Bill. Working towards a target date of 1 July 2022 is intended to give systems a clear timescale for preparations and many positive steps have already been taken to prepare for the establishment of Integrated Care Boards if and when the Bill is enacted. More information is available on our website:

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Every adult in the country now needs to get a Covid-19 booster vaccine, because two doses does not give you enough protection against catching Omicron.


Tackling system pressures together A communications drive is being rolled out across Cheshire and Merseyside to support with the severe pressure NHS services are currently under. Partners are being encouraged to work together to provide clear and consistent messages to inform the public about the challenges and the likely impact on care giving, as well as the processes in place to ensure safety while prioritising those most in need. Messages recognise the enormous efforts of staff in the face of pressures relating to Covid-19 admissions and staff absence. They also provide assurance that NHS services are still open, but request patience, understanding and sensible decision-making to use services appropriately. We’re also strengthening the call for people to help the NHS by getting vaccinated, following a surge in Covid-related hospital admissions across the North West. In addition, we’re revisiting the award-winning ‘Let’s get vaccinated’ campaign with the aim of targeting messages at specific demographics and communities where vaccination take-up is low. Public-facing messages are available on the Health and Care Partnership website. Please also look out for and share social media posts. For more details, email:

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Five million vaccine milestone reached – including one million boosters More than five million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been delivered across Cheshire and Merseyside – with over a million of those being boosters to protect people against the fast-spreading omicron variant. In the last few weeks, the number of appointments and opportunities to get a vaccine have almost doubled in Cheshire and Merseyside, with pop-up sites and additional clinics at pharmacies and GP surgeries, as well as more availability at other vaccine sites. The increase has come in response to the omicron variant and the aim to offer every adult in the country a booster. The push is supported by NHS staff, volunteers, the military and local firefighters and comes as the nation is invited to ‘Have a jabby New Year’ and come forward for the vaccine. These two major milestones highlight the incredible efforts of the NHS and partners in Cheshire and Merseyside to further roll out the vaccination programme. It also shows the commitment of staff and volunteers in delivering the programme and further encouraging the public to get vaccinated and boosted. Everyone is urged to come forward for their first, second and booster dose, if they have not already done so. Those aged 18 or over can also come forward to be boosted if it is longer than 12 weeks since their second dose. Director of Vaccination for the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, Jayne Wood, said: “Breaking through the five million dose barrier is a huge achievement and gives us another opportunity to thank everyone involved in the vaccine programme for their hard work and dedication. “In the last few weeks, we have considerably increased the amount of vaccine we are putting in people’s arms, as we push to get people boosted. We continue to work at pace to make everyone as safe from Covid-19 as we possibly can. “This is not all about the numbers though, it is about people, our loved ones, friends, colleagues, and families. Each one of these doses makes a real difference to people’s lives and our whole community. The vaccine is, and always has been, the best way to protect you against Covid-19.” You can book a vaccine appointment online or call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. A large number of sites are also welcoming walk-ins, and you can find these by searching ‘walk-in vaccination near me’ online or, for more information about sites in your area, check your local authority or CCG website. Page 8

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Lights, camera… vaccine A huge amount of TV and media activity has been generated in recent weeks to support the extension of the booster programme in Cheshire and Merseyside. Almost every national and regional broadcaster has visited the area to talk about our additional clinics, pop-up sites and other activities to get people vaccinated. The transformation of the crypt at Chester Cathedral attracted significant media attention to both promote the work of the programme and encourage people to come forward. National newspapers also carried stories and images of the site, as well as a photograph finding its way to the front page of the Wall Street Journal! Regional BBC and ITV also produced moving pieces about our booster programme for housebound people in Cheshire. And it didn’t stop there. This week, we’ve worked with the Liverpool Echo to share powerful messages in relation to vaccine hesitancy from Asma Khalil, Professor in Obstetrics and Maternal Foetal Medicine at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and Dr Fiona Lemmens, Aintree GP and Chair of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group. A big thank you to the combined efforts of communications colleagues across the patch – particularly Cheshire CC and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership – for pulling out the stops to significantly raise the profile of Cheshire and Merseyside’s vaccination programme and showcase the amazing efforts of our health and care partners to protect local people. Find a walk-in Covid-19 vaccination site.

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Cheshire and Merseyside People Professions Recognition Flip Book

In June 2021, we held our first virtual People Summit. It was a fantastic three days highlighting the innovative and impactful work of those leading and supporting the people agenda in Cheshire and Merseyside. Following on from this, we wanted to offer a space to recognise and promote the work of the people professions and those working to progress the people strategy in the region, as well as celebrating their achievements through this past difficult year. As a result, the People Professions Recognition Flip Book was born. Nominations were canvassed across our region from anyone in health and care to recognise

colleagues working in HR, OD, Learning and Development, Workforce, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Occupational Health, Health and Wellbeing, Communications and Engagement and other related disciplines, but also colleagues who supported our staff during the pandemic. The Health and Care Partnership’s Workforce and OD Team, supported by the Communications Team, collated the 60 Cheshire and Merseyside nominations received in celebration of those who have gone above and beyond. The flip book is available to view on our website. Please note, the link might not work effectively in Internet Explorer and you may need to copy and paste it into another web browser.

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Get a seat at the (board) table We need people who identify with protected groups on our boards in the health and social care system. Your voice is vital to make our system stronger and reflect the diverse communities we serve. However, we know people from protected groups face barriers to accessing leadership positions and receiving support from leadership mentoring and coaching programmes. This means we are missing out on a significant pool of skills and experience.  Addressing these barriers, especially at board level, is why a new pilot coaching programme has been developed. Coaching for leadership development: for people from protected groups is for those who aspire to leadership positions as non-executive directors or board chairs within Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System.

In the spirit of inclusivity, we want to receive expressions of interest from as broad a group as possible. This programme is being delivered by the Innovation Agency’s Coaching Academy on behalf of the NHS England and Improvement’s North West Region People Team. Visit the Innovation Agency’s website for full details and to express your interest.

The pilot is aimed at aspiring board leaders, as we believe it will have a significant impact on how whole organisations approach engaging with both staff and service users who are members of protected groups, and that it will have a ‘trickle down’ effect on recruitment and leadership development at all other levels. Coaching for leadership development will involve one-to-one and group coaching sessions to support your leadership goals, and opportunities to hear the lived experience of current non-executive directors from protected groups in health and care. You will gain a variety of new insights, skills and knowledge, and you’ll be able to form new connections with a like-minded, ambitious community.

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“I got so used to my body feeling this way, I ignored it ovarian cancer symptoms may be dismissed as somet A young woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer suffered with such long-term symptoms, she initially wrote them off as being something she’d have to live with. Ruth Betteridge, from Huyton, was just 29 when she was diagnosed with borderline stage 1A ovarian cancer in her left ovary, after suffering with severe bloating for a number of years. The now 34-year-old, who underwent a full hysterectomy in January 2016, is warning other people who may be experiencing unusual symptoms for three weeks or more to visit their GP. Ruth says: “I visited my GP with a bloated stomach. For months, I’d be watching what I ate in the hope of relieving the discomfort. But, after all this time, I thought I might just have to live with it. Still, I visited my doctor who sent me for blood tests.” The blood tests led to a cyst being discovered on Ruth’s left ovary. “They warned me it might be something more sinister. Naturally, I was incredibly worried. When I had the hysterectomy, I didn’t even know at that point it was cancer, so it was an awful lot to get my head around.” Following surgery and her diagnosis, Ruth was discharged. However, her bloating symptoms returned in 2019. “In March 2020, I went through further surgery at Liverpool Women’s Hospital to remove low grade ovarian cancer which had returned in the lining of my ovary. I managed to receive my surgery the week before lockdown, so I was incredibly grateful to get it sorted before everything kicked off!” However, Ruth received more bad news when, despite her surgery, her symptoms returned. Ruth was referred to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in October 2020, where scans confirmed the cancer was back. This time, she was to receive multiple rounds of chemotherapy to help treat the cancer, all delivered at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool, the city centre’s dedicated cancer hospital.

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“I’ve got several more rounds of treatment t not out of the woods yet,” explains Ruth. “A cancer is treatable, it’s not curable. But my of being treated at The Clatterbridge Cance been great. When I chat to other patients, t by my diagnosis; some of them haven’t eve ovarian cancer.

“I really hope that by telling my story I can r awareness of the different kinds of gynaeco cancers, including ovarian cancer, uterine c of the womb) and vaginal cancer. Cervical c one most people have heard of, but there a are less well-known.”

Dr Danielle Shaw is a Consultant in Medica The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foun and is leading on Ruth’s care. She said: “O has few symptoms so it is often discovered difficult to cure completely.

“However, there are some incredible advan treatment for people with ovarian cancer w meaning people are living longer with this ty

“Ruth is one of the youngest patients I’ve tr ovarian cancer. She’s had a lot to deal with few years, but it making excellent progress.

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Preview of Cheshire and Merseyside’s Marmot review Sir Michael Marmot and the Institute of Health Equity (IHE) presented the interim Marmot report for Cheshire and Merseyside to the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership Board on 11 January.

“We are seeing a real commitment on the ground where people live and work, which is what we need. This is vital and we really, really, really want to make a difference in partnership with you.”

The interim report – ‘Building Back Fairer in Cheshire and Merseyside: Evidence for action and key approaches’ – is the first output of IHE’s work in Cheshire and Merseyside and sets out inequalities in health and the social determinants of health and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report was welcomed by all those in attendance at the Partnership Board, with much discussion about how best to drive this forward and make a difference for disadvantaged communities in Cheshire and Merseyside.

It assesses the role of austerity policies between 2010-20 in driving these inequalities and the impacts of the pandemic. It also highlights existing and developing actions and partnerships currently addressing health inequalities. The contents of the report have so far been used to inform a series of place-based workshops with local authorities in the subregion, which engaged with 350 stakeholders throughout November and December 2021. Learning from these workshops will be incorporated into the report and a final version will be published in spring. Commissioned by Champs, the report intends to make recommendations for how partners across Cheshire and Merseyside can work together to impact health inequality, with specific recommendations to be set out for local authorities, the ICS, public services, the business and economic sector, the voluntary, community and faith sector, and our communities themselves. Presenting the interim findings, Sir Michael said: “People often comment to me that we’ve known about health inequalities for a long time and ask whether it fills me with gloom that the conversations are still continuing. My response is no, not at all. All around the country, there are organisations trying hard to do something, which is very encouraging. Page 16

Graham Urwin, Designate Chief Executive of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board, said: “This is a defining, core piece of business for our new Integrated Care Partnership and being successful will come from effective, collaborative, partnership working between many agencies. “We must free up time to commit to this important agenda, and we can do that by making sure we work well in meeting all our other objectives. “Our goal is to make the biggest difference for the people who are least able to do this for themselves. “I’m looking forward to putting this work at the heart of what we do. It has my full support.” Find out more about the work of Sir Michael Marmot and IHE, including the government-commissioned 2010 report, ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’, and last year’s follow up, ‘Marmot Review 10 Years On’, on the Institute of Health Equity website:

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Webinar: Next steps in developing anchor institutions in our region 25 January: 1pm -3pm This webinar, with an introduction by ICB Designate Chief Executive Graham Urwin, follows our successful ‘Cheshire and Merseyside's Journey to become an Anchor Institution’, webinar held in November. Our aim is to establish an Anchor Institution Charter with an agreed set of principles, anchored in local communities, for as many organisations across the region as possible to adopt. The charter will reflect local needs and determine the organisational behaviour required to deliver them. (Please complete the short survey being sent out across our communities before the event – this will be very useful in helping to shape some of the discussion)

Register for the virtual event now. What is an anchor institution? An anchor institution is a place-based organisation invested in its local area and cannot relocate to another part of the country. Examples include local councils, universities, colleges, local housing associations and local emergency services. By their very nature, these organisations also spend substantial amounts of money within the local area. While most of their employees are likely to live within the local area, and spend their wages there, they also have significant procurement and investment spend which can also be spent locally. They have a collective interest in seeing their local area improve and are always looking for more opportunities to advance collaboration with them.

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Blueprint to reduce deaths from heart attacks and stroke Health and care systems and providers across the UK will soon be able to take advantage of a blueprint being developed by the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership’s Digital First Primary Care Team which will capture learning from the rollout of a new national programme called ‘BP@Home’. The programme is distributing 220,000 blood pressure monitors to people across the country who have been diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) and who could benefit from regular checks. Cheshire and Merseyside is one of the first integrated care systems to trial the programme and has already issued 20,000 monitors to people across the footprint to help to reduce the number of deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes in the region. The blueprint, which is due to be released this year on the FutureNHS Collaboration platform, will provide step-by-step guides and share learning from the local rollout of the programme which can then be tailored by other healthcare systems and providers to suit their own local needs and requirements. It is hoped that not only will the blueprint be used to aid digital enablers and clinicians in their roles to support the rollout of BP@Home across the country, but that the approach utilised can be replicated to support other digital programmes of work. Particularly those in primary care settings using ‘remote monitoring’ – the process of using technology to enable patients to monitor health parameters whilst alerting clinicians to any deterioration in their condition.

Alex Chaplin, Chief Digital Information Officer, at Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, added: “As a digital programme, we’re so passionate about supporting NHSX’s Blueprinting Programme by developing and sharing knowledge assets like this Hypertension Blueprint, because we’re not just striving towards making a difference through digital in Cheshire and Merseyside, but, where we can, across the country. “Taking an approach that builds on NHSX’s ‘What Good Looks Like Framework’, and utilising blueprints not just as a mechanism to support people within our region to digitise, connect and transform services safely and securely, also enables us to empower people working for other health and care systems and providers as well.” Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership’s Hypertension Blueprint is due to be released this year, and will be available on the FutureNHS Collaboration platform within the GDE Community’s Blueprinting workspace. To access GDE blueprints, including the Hypertension Blueprint when it becomes available, you can request access by visiting the FutureNHS website.

Sally Deacon, Programme Lead for the Hypertension Accelerator Project, said: “Improving how we monitor blood pressure presents one of the biggest opportunities to save lives, minimise the burden of disease for patients, and reduce inequalities. That’s why my team and I are so passionate about capturing and sharing our learning from our work here in Cheshire and Merseyside.”

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Getting started is easier than you think Not sure how to eat healthier? Start with simple swaps. Get help and support at

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New year, improved you

A new campaign launched earlier this month aims to encourage adults across the nation to lose excess weight, eat more healthily and get active as we begin the new year. ‘Better Health’ is working in partnership with 15 weight management and physical activity partners who are providing free and discounted offers. The website will also signpost to local weight management support. More than three in five adults (63 per cent of the adult population) are at increased risk from serious diseases and becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 as a result of being overweight.

NHS and additional sources, to provide the public with motivating reasons to eat better and get active in 2022. The campaign offers free evidence-based support and guidance on the Better Health website to motivate adults to kickstart healthy changes. Better Health has lots of free tips and tools to help people get started if they want to lose weight, eat better or get active; and the site can help you find additional weight loss support. Search ‘Better Health’.

From reducing the risk of serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and up to 12 types of cancer, to lowering the chances of being hospitalised with Covid-19, the campaign highlights the serious health conditions which could be prevented by losing excess weight and offers free support and guidance to achieve this goal. By improving a person’s lifestyle and being a healthier weight, six benefits have been identified: • Decreased risk of common cancers (colon, liver, pancreas, kidney) • Lowered risk of increased blood pressure • Reduced risk of heart disease • Less risk of developing diabetes • Less strain from chronic back and joint pain • Decreased risk of being hospitalised or becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 The six benefits list has been created based on evidence cited in the Government’s Obesity Strategy: Tackling Obesity: Empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, alongside Page 21

Sheena Cumiskey announces retirement in May 2022 Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), and former Interim Chief Officer of Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, Sheena Cumiskey, has announced she will be retiring in May after 25 years as an NHS chief executive and 38 years working in the NHS. Her career has spanned all aspects of provision and commissioning – making a significant contribution to championing mental health issues, including being the chief executive lead for mental health on the advisory group for the NHS Long Term Plan. As chair of the NHS North West Leadership Academy, Sheena has also supported the next generation of NHS leaders. Sheena said: “It has been a great privilege to be Chief Executive of CWP for the past 12 years and to have had the opportunity to serve in a wide variety of NHS roles throughout my career. I am 60 in May and I feel the time is right to hand the baton on to a new generation of talented leaders. It has been a difficult decision because of the wonderful people I have had the pleasure to work with at CWP and within the Cheshire and Wirral and wider North West community. “I am looking forward to the next five months before I retire as there is much to do during this period to help support our wonderful staff at a very testing time for the NHS and social care – and also in the midst of considerable change to the way the NHS is organised. I’m lucky to have worked with some great people by my side at CWP and I know they will continue to strive for the very best for the population we serve.” Everyone at Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership wishes Sheena a happy retirement when the time comes.

Online event: Relationships and mental health: conception to age five (North West Coast Summit 2022) Wednesday 9 February, 10am-12.30pm This free event will bring together stakeholders from across the North West Coast to explore how we can continue to develop mental health and emotional support in the early years of life. The event will focus on how systems can work together across health and social care in the best interests of families, with speakers from both a national and local perspective.


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Liverpool nurse awarded prestigious national nursing title One of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s integrated nursing team has been presented with the prestigious Queen’s Nurse title in recognition of her efforts to improve practice and efficiency during the Covid-19 pandemic.   Kirsten Collins, an operational service manager at Mersey Care, received the honour from community nursing charity The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) during an online ceremony in December. The judges were impressed with Kirsten’s innovation in setting up a development programme for new Band 6 managers within her team and she helped adapt the district nursing provision into a 24-hour operation using neighbourhood nursing teams to ensure increased patient care continuity.   She also helped to ensure every district nursing day team was given a sub-epidermal moisture scanner, which enables them to better predict and proactively treat pressure sores among their patients.   Kirsten said: “I trained as a nurse and I’m extremely proud to receive this award. I’m really passionate about being in nursing – I don’t see it as a job, it’s my vocation and, although my role has changed over the years, I remain as committed as I ever was to improving patient care and people’s lives.”   The QNI presents the Queen’s Nurse Award annually to those nurses that have “demonstrated a high level of commitment to patient care and nursing practice”.

Trish Bennett, Mersey Care’s Executive Director of Nursing, said: “On behalf of the Trust I’d like to offer our congratulations to Kirsten for this outstanding success. “Nurses, like the rest of the NHS, have faced enormous challenges over the last couple of years of the pandemic and it’s innovative work like this which has helped us adapt and ensure we continue to deliver the highest standards of healthcare to the population we serve.”

IT kit recycling project changes lives We’re delighted to share that an IT kit recycling project undertaken by our digital programme’s digital inclusion team has helped deliver lifechanging outcomes for some of Cheshire and Merseyside ‘s most digitally excluded groups. The scheme has supported people to get online and empowered them to access a range of digital health services they wouldn’t have been able to benefit from before; for example, those providing diabetes and mental health support, and guidance around how to live a healthier lifestyle, like how to quit smoking. The project achieved this by using £27,000 in funding from the Digital First Primary Care Programme, which is currently supporting more than 30 projects across primary care settings such as general practice, pharmacy, oximetry and social care services, and working closely with the nine local authority areas that make up Cheshire and Merseyside. Funding was used to buy and repurpose pre-loved computer monitors, processors, keyboards and mice from the Furniture Resource Centre (FRC) Group. Kit was arranged into digital packs and had Windows 10 software installed before packs were distributed for free to the digitally excluded groups who needed them most to access digital health services. Over a period of six months, more than 70 people from across Cheshire and Merseyside, have benefitted from the project, all of whom were already connected to the internet, but due to factors including access, confidence, motivation and skills were unable to get online. Recipients have included older people, financially disadvantaged people, and people with disabilities. One recipient, who was given a digital pack to support her in managing her diabetes and to improve her overall wellbeing, sharing the following feedback via a project survey: “During the Covid-19 lockdowns, I’ve often felt really isolated, down and lacked motivation to do Page 24

anything I’d normally do, but through having access to a computer I’m now feeling a lot better. It’s made my life easier and has given me more independence and freedom than I had before, because I’m now able to access online diabetes health and wellbeing programmes, other online courses such as leadership training where I can connect with people, and I can even do my shopping online! For me, being able to get online is like being able to access a library from home, where I’m able to search for opportunities that can help me not only to better manage my health conditions, but also to improve my life in general.”

Jennifer Mason, Project Manager, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities within our society, including the digital divide. At a time when having full access to computers and the internet couldn’t be more important in allowing people to use online services, attend medical appointments and virtual classes, as well as stay in touch with friends and family. “That said, I’m extremely proud that, through this project, we’ve not only changed the lives of digitally excluded individuals across Cheshire and Merseyside, who’ve benefitted from being able to access digital health services, we’ve also managed to narrow the digital divide.” Moving forward, in 2022 the digital programme’s digital inclusion team will be looking to distribute the remaining 74 digital packs not yet allocated, helping to support more digitally excluded individuals across our region. Find out more on our website.

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Connect edition 44 produced in-house by the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership Communications and Engagement Team. All images © of their respective owners.