Working with Health Professionals

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure to chair a conference in Cambridge in the historic surrounding of the Library at Girton College, a conference arranged by the East of England Public Health Directorate for Public Health Professionals called ‘Understanding the Local Government environment.’

I am asked to attend a number of these events by ‘Health’ and just like the speech I gave to a conference last week at Duxford for Clinical Commissioning group I think this work is important as we seek to arrive at a significantly different way to delivery Health and Social Care in this county. I often say that we speak, not two dialects of the same language but different languages and it’s vitally important if we are to change and break down these institutionalised silos we have created we need to learn each other language and culture, and the only way to do that is to talk to each other.

Along with my colleague from Essex, Cllr. Dr. Ann Naylor who now has the political responsibility for Public Health, we presented a session entitled ‘Working effectively within a political environments’ where we peppered the theory with the practical realities of Councillors!

What I get out of these events is learning Health’s language and some of it is very interesting, as I summed up the days presentations and discussions I reflected on a few key points for me from the day.

Firstly it was said that the sector did not want this move across and is fearful on two counts; firstly that the data and evidence based approach they use to directing funding will be diminished by Councillors having a say and that come 2015 when the ring-fencing is removed that Public Health budgets will be cut as local government deals with the cuts in base funding as indicated by Government.

From my side of things I reflected that the emphasis that Public Health teams place on data and an evidenced based approach is also something Councils do but Councillors will also take sounding of those they represent and this is right and proper in a democratic system.

With regards the worries about budgets I made the point that of course that could happen but here is Suffolk we already spend far more that the £25million that is coming across with the team, on our Council strategy of prevention where we currently spend about £40million. Equally there is a political imperative not just in Suffolk but across the county, we are an ageing population and we need to be healthier in our older age or the demographic time bomb that is so often and so flippantly mentioned will become will explode. Thus Public Health professional are welcomed into local government with open arms as a better integrated approach to public’s health is vital, prevention is the cornerstone of our Suffolk Strategy, but that is true of all councils or it should be! It’s an easy thing to say but even in these difficult fiscal times public health spend must be protected.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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