Chief Officer’s Blog 5 November 2021


Hello everyone, Sheena here at the end of yet another busy but rewarding week.


I was absolutely delighted on Tuesday to host our first ‘We Are One’ staff briefing. This gave me the opportunity to talk directly to all 1,198 staff from the Partnership and our CCGs – that is the staff who will make up the workforce of our intended Integrated Care Board. Almost 500 staff attended – a fantastic turnout – and others can, and have, accessed the recording of the meeting at their convenience. What struck me most was the willingness to engage in the meeting and the appetite of the participants to embrace system working, as one team. I feel we are now really making significant progress towards establishing that ‘we are one’ team spirit, and it is this that will enable us to realise our vision for everyone in Cheshire in Merseyside to get the best start in life and get the support they need to stay healthy and live longer.


We recognise change can be unsettling so we are committed to ensuring our workforce is fully informed and supported through the transition period and beyond. The Transition Programme, led by Dianne Johnson, will enable us to ensure the transfer of people and functions from the nine existing CCGs into the ICB, and the safe closedown of the CCGs. There is no getting away from the fact that we need to step up the pace, so pragmatism and flexibility will be key over the next five months.


I recognise that our workforce – both within the ICB one team and beyond it throughout our health and care system – is, without doubt, our greatest asset. Their health and wellbeing is paramount to the ability to keep providing the great services our population relies on, and deserves. Right now, that is really tough. Organisational change can cause stress and anxiety, and so too does the constant pressure faced by all frontline health and care staff at the moment. Everyone is affected. Consequently, this is a message to all staff in all sectors – thank you, you are amazing.


Please take advantage of the support available to you through your employer, occupational health services and other resources. Please take care of yourselves and your colleagues. To managers out there – look after your staff and lead by example. Take proper breaks and ensure your teams do too. And always, be kind.


Kind to Your Mind – here you’ll find a range of useful resources, tips, and advice to help with your mental wellbeing

Alma Wellbeing Portal – resources developed exclusively for people living and working in Cheshire and Merseyside

Cheshire and Merseyside Resilience Hub – information and support for all NHS, Social Care and Emergency Service staff

Cheshire Chat – join this public conversation on mental health and wellbeing

Imagining the Future – get involved in helping develop CWP’s plan for the future


I hope readers of this blog are already aware we are engaging with stakeholders about the proposed constitution of our ICB and asking for feedback and comment. Thank you to everyone who has responded so far – rest assured, your feedback will be considered. Indeed, in response to some very early feedback we extended the length of the engagement period. You now have until 5pm on Wednesday 10 November to give us your thoughts. Details are here


Covid remains a grave concern and continues to impact us all. It is great news that here in Cheshire and Merseyside we have now surpassed the 4 million mark in terms of vaccines given. This is testament to the hard work and expertise of all involved in the vaccine programme, and thanks also to those citizens who have stepped forward to be double or even triple jabbed. However, we are seriously concerned about those who are yet to be vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way out of this pandemic, so please get yours. I don’t need to tell you about the importance of taking care at this time – wash your hands regularly, keep rooms ventilated or meet outside where possible and wear a mask or face covering in crowded spaces.

I want to spotlight our progress on the recovery of services and pay tribute to the many staff who are working above and beyond to get us back to pre-pandemic levels of service. We are making real inroads into tackling the backlog of elective services, increasing diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments. In some cases, services are operating at 120 per cent of 2018/19 baseline measures and emergency attendances are at around 110 per cent of those. The NHS is very much open and caring for patients, but, please, as citizens, let us all do our bit to help by taking care of ourselves and each other. Sincere thanks and well done to all involved. Please keep going, you are making a real difference.


The latest edition of our monthly magazine Connect is now out – if you haven’t already got a copy, you can find it on our website Please keep sending us your stories and news to share.


Finally, I’d like to wish all readers a very happy Diwali. This festival of light marks a season of joy, festivities, sparkles, snacks and sweets! Diwali brings all communities together and marks the triumph of good over evil. To all celebrating it, enjoy it and best wishes.


Stay safe everyone, especially if you are having bonfires or fireworks. Until next time…


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