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 SWL Consultant in Public Health at South London Partnership, working with the South West London Integrated Care System on population health and health inequalities. 

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 (2020-22):

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. 2022.  Encouraging uptake of the HPV vaccine: a guide for nurses.  Independent Nurse, September 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 5 years (2017-22):

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.