May 26, 2017 in Blog by Andrew Furber

As I write this blog the latest terrorist atrocity in the UK is still unfolding in Manchester. Parents are still hoping to find their children. Students are wondering if they will ever see their friends again. We are all appalled by the brutality of the act.

Of course it is not the first such outrage on our soil. London has sadly had to respond to a number of these tragedies, as recently as March in Westminster.

The response in Manchester as it has been elsewhere has been extraordinary. A homeless man pulled nails out of children, people opened up their homes to strangers and taxi drivers have given a free ride to those who needed to get home. The response from public services has been no less remarkable. Staff have worked above and beyond their paid hours and dealt with things they could never have imagined having to do.

John Middleton and I have sent a message of support to the Directors of Public Health and their teams in Greater Manchester. They continue to do extraordinary work. Other DsPH have been in touch to offer their support too. Currently the local response is being managed within the capacity of the Greater Manchester Public Health Network, but I know these expressions of support have been appreciated. Such were the distances that people had travelled to the concert that many of us will have people directly or indirectly affected in our own patches.

Whilst Directors of Public Health play an important role in emergency preparedness and response, we also play our part in developing the community and personal resilience which is so vital at these times. With the UK terror threat moving to critical and a general election looming, these will no doubt be tested over the coming weeks.

All of us will have been affected in some way by these events. You will have your own way of dealing with them, but we neglect our personal resilience at our peril. This bank holiday weekend I’ll be joining the ADPH Cycle Club (yes, there is one) on its Cities of Culture Tour as it passes through Manchester on its way to Hull. You can follow our progress using #cycle4lifeph on Twitter. Whatever you are doing I hope you get chance to recharge your batteries.