About Dr Cath

Who am I? 

Dr Cath is the pseudonym for Dr Catherine Heffernan who's been a registered Consultant in Public Health on the UK Public Health Register and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health since 2009.

I am currently the Director of Health Improvement at Southwest London Integrated Care Board working with the South West London Integrated Care System on population health, prevention, health research, health inequalities and environmental sustainability. 

For nine years, I was the Principal Public Health Advisor for Commissioning Early Years, Immunisations and Vaccination Services at Public Health England (London). Between March 2020 and October 2021, I worked as a Consultant in Public Health/Public Health Advisor in Public Health England's national advice, guidance and expertise team (PHAGE) on the COVID-19 incident.  In the past, I have also been an interim Director of Public Health and a Consultant in Children's Public Health.

I have specialised in healthcare public health but I also have a long standing interest in digital health, epidemiology and the public health issues of childhood as they relate to children and parents and children as future adults.

I currently hold a visiting senior lectureship at Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London and between 2010 and 2022 I held an honorary associate professorship at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  As well as academic collaborations, I am an educational supervisor for public health registrars and a clinical supervisor for GP and other medical registrars on public health placements.  I am a Faculty Advisor  and Faculty Assessor for the Faculty of Public Health. 

I have been an expert committee member on NICE Quality Standards for Improving Vaccination Uptake in under 19s (2016) and a commissioner representative on the NICE Guideline Committee for management of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women (2018) and the NICE Guideline Committee for Pelvic Dysfunction (2021).    

I have written articles on public health topics for a number of magazines including C'llr (2007-2017), Public Health Matters and Public Health Today. 

Magazine articles in last two years (2020-24):

Heffernan, C. 2024. UK measles outbreak: why are cases rising? Independent Nurse, February 2024. 

Heffernan, C. 2023.  What's next for immunisations in primary care? Independent Nurse, November 2023. 

Heffernan, C. 2023.  The pharmacies helping older people to be 'winter fit'.  Independent Nurse, November 2023., Issue 11. 
Heffernan, C.  2023.  What's new for MMR? An update for primary care nurses.  Independent Nurse, May 2023.
Heffernan, C.  2023.  New Models of  vaccine delivery.  Independent Nurse, March 2023. 
Heffernan, C. 2022. Winter is Coming: time for the influenza jab.  Independent Nurse, November 2022.

Heffernan, C. 2022.  Encouraging uptake of the HPV vaccine: a guide for nurses.  Independent Nurse, September 2022. 

Donovan H, Falconer M, Heffernan C, Lall S, Lane M, MacDonald P & O'Brien C.  Childhood vaccination rates, a casualty of the pandemic: a new report helping to change the tide  Health Services Journal, June 2022

Heffernan, C. 2021.  Challenges for delivering the Winter Flu Jab 2021/22.  Independent Nurse, December 2021. 

Heffernan, C. 2021. COVID-19 vaccination: what's next? Independent Nurse, October 2021.

Heffernan, C. 2021.  Shingles: The Forgotten vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Independent Nurse, July 2021. 

Heffernan, C. 2021.  How to manage COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.  Nursing in Practice

Heffernan, C. 2020. Tackling Vaccine Hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent Nurse, 20 Dec 2020:Vol 12.  

Heffernan, C. 2020. Delivering the 'flu vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent Nurse,  19 November 2020:Vol 11. 

Heffernan, C.  2020.  Delivering immunisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Independent Nurse, 19 Aug 2020:Vol 8. 

Peer reviewed publications in last 7 years (2017-24):

Mujong D, Rogers E, Heffernan C.  2024. The impact of social medial interventions on adult influenza vaccination: a systematic review.   Practice Nursing: 35:1.   https://doi.org/10.12968/pnur.2024.35.1.8.
Heffernan, C.  2023. Improving Public Trust in Vaccination Programmes. Journal of Healthcare Management.   https://doi.org/10.12968/bjhc.2023.0105

NICE Guideline Committee. Prevention and non-surgical management of pelvic floor dysfunction: summary of NICE Guidance. BMJ 2022;376:n3049.

Kauffmann F, Heffernan C, Meurice F, Ota M, Vetter V, Casabona G. 2021. Measles, mumps, rubella prevention: how can we do better? Expert Rev Vaccines. 2021;20(7):811-826.

Skirrow H, Flynn C, Heller A, Heffernan C, Mounier-Jack S, Chantler T. 2021. Delivering routine immunisations in London during the Covid-19 pandemic: lessons for future vaccine delivery. British Journal of General Practice Online  

Ellis N, Walker-Todd E, Heffernan C.  2020.  Exploring what influences childhood immunisation decision-making in London's Gypsy, Roma and Travelling Communities.  British Journal of Nursinghttps://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2020.29.14.822

Rana S,  Saavedra-Campos M, Perkins S,  Mohammed-Klein R,  Wright A, Cordery R, Bell A,  Heffernan C,  Meltzer M, Chow, Y,  Verlander N,  Balasegaram S. 2020.  A large measles outbreak with multiple healthcare exposures, London, February-June 2016: public health response and factors associated with cases being isolated on arrival to healthcare settings.  Public Health, Vol 183:55-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2020.02.015.

Chantler T, Bell S, Saliva V, Heffernan C, Raj T, Ramsey M, Mourier-Jack, S. 2019. Is partnership the answer? Delivering the national immunisation programme in the new English health system: a mixed methods study. Public Health https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6400-6.

Bosanquent N, Davies T, Donovan H, Heffernan C, Kassianos G, Kirham K, Lonergan K, Nicholson E. Vaccinating outside Section 7a immunisation programmes: who, how and why? Practice Nursing, Vol 30 no 10: 492-494 https://doi.org/10.12968/pnur.2019.30.10.492

McGeown H, Moore J & Heffernan C.  2019.  Embedding commissioner quality visits to general practices to improve childhood immunisations: lessons learned. British Journal of Healthcare Management Vol 25, No 1.

Seok J, Heffernan C, Mounier-Jack S, Chantler T.  2018.  Perspectives of vaccinators on the factors affecting uptake of meningococcal ACWY vaccine amongst school leavers in London. Public Health, Vol 64: 128-133.   

Rockliffe L, McBride E, Heffernan C, Foster, A.2018. Factors affecting delivery of the HPV vaccination: a focus group study with NHS School Aged Vaccination teams in London. Journal of School Nursing , Vol 27: 434-446.

Lonergan K, Latif A, Bailey J, Moore J, Beaney T, Heffernan,C. 2018.Implementing the evidence: are call/recall systems for immunisations feasible in general practice? Vaccines and Immunology,  Vol 1, Issue 1.  

Junghans C, Heffernan C, Valli A, Gibson K. 2018.Short Report: Mass vaccination response to a measles outbreak is not always possible -Lessons from a London Prison.J Epidemiology & Infection 146(13):1689-1691.

McGeown H, Heffernan C & Gibson K.  2018.  Perspectives from CQC ‘outstanding’ practices: How to have good uptake of vaccination services. Practice Nursing 2018, Vol 29 (3):2-6.  https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/10.12968/pnur...

Junghans C, Lonergan K, Heffernan C & Gibson K. 2018. Vaccinations not covered under Section 7a – Who Pays? British Journal of General Practice Feb 2018:92-93.

Heffernan C, Jones L, Ritchie B, Erens B, Chalabi Z & Mays N. 2018.  Local health and social care responses to implementing the national cold weather plan. Journal of Public Health, 40(3): 461-466. 

Winslade C, Heffernan, C. & Atchison C. 2017. Experiences and perspectives of mothers of the pertussis vaccination programme in London. Public Health Vol 146, 10-14.

Full list of publications can be found at Research Gate and ORCID.