The future of the NHS depends on a reshape of the current care system, with a shift in priority towards prevention and public health. Many CCGs are already driving change in their health systems, improving models of care at a local level. But typically these changes take time to disperse into the wider healthcare ecosystem. GovConnect is a social enterprise dedicated to sharing the best work and ideas from all over the country, to improve quality of care and reduce variations in standards nationwide. They achieve this through a series of conferences aimed at involving local authority staff in health promotion, and encouraging social care policy makers to share insight, collate evidence, and take action.
As part of the Health in All Policies conference they asked Clarity to discuss workforce redesign in Royal College of Medicine, London.
Key points from Conference:
- Health and equity needs to be considered in all policies
- Importance of preventative measures to address health and wellbeing, aiming to work with initiatives that will have long term impacts on the population.
- Involve the public when considering options to encourage implementation and sustainability.
- Importance of social justice and empowering the public to be involved in planning improvements of their daily living conditions ensuring equity for the public.
- Finances are being tightened across the country, so it is vital that councils work together, adapting and implementing successful projects and learning from each others’ experiences.
Opening the conference was Dame Shirley Crammer from the Royal Society of Public Health. She discussed the relative importance of health and wellbeing, contrasted with how little of the health budget is actually spent on preventative measures. She discussed the importance a National approach in considering how to impact long term health resources, citing future general acts such as the current Scottish Health & Social Justice Policy and Welsh Public Policy, as examples.
Professor Sir Michael Marmot followed, raising the importance of social justice and empowering the public to involve themselves in the improvement of their daily living conditions and inequalities. He emphasised the significance of health equity in all policies and highlighted concerning areas such as rising child poverty and lack of job stability on zero hours contracts. The ultimate aim, he stated, is for society to be socially sustainable.
Sally Burlington, Head of Policy for “people” issues for the Local Government Association (LGA), discussed the dilemma of cross-party biases around health and wellbeing in local government, and the resulting importance that all sections of policies need to address health improvements. Local governments have had their funding cut by £16 million from £50,000,000 so affordable, effective problem management alternatives need to be developed. The Health and Well Being Boards are only a starting point to connect people in networks of clinical, political, professional and communities. By working with public services, they can have a cumulative positive impact on the wellbeing and health equity of the population.
Martin Reeves, Chief Executive Coventry Council also mentioned the disparity of funding between acute systems and preventative health and wellbeing. Care needs to be an integrated form of social, environment and political problems working together. He emphasised by doing this Coventry Council developed a new model of systems which empowered the public and united the city.
David Buck addressed factors impacting finances and divided them into those resulting in quick impact returns e.g. establishing and maintaining employment, being active and safe travel, whilst longer term impacts include planning greenspaces, structural environment and transport. Economic tools e.g. ROI tools can be beneficial in decision making and clarifying benefits, but are not dominant in decision making as they do not take into account inequalities.
Dr Ann Marie Connolly came next, outlining multiple factors that impact health, including housing, alcohol, parenting skills to improve child speech and language, healthier food environments (e.g. no fast food restaurants within school neighbourhoods). Medical health itself only impacts on 43% of total health and wellbeing, with the remainder being due to economic, environmental and social factors.
Jim McManus, Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire, rounded the morning up by commenting on the importance of empowering the workforce, informing the public and embedding health and equity in all policies. By engaging public and other council system experiences it enables councils to develop successful projects and adapt less successful projects.
The afternoon was an opportunity to peruse the stands in the foyer (including Clairty’s) and attend talks held by other companies.
We at Clarity, had a stand, where we presented on workforce redesign, using the combined expertise of Denis Gibson and Sara Wilson, each with their own experience of restructuring teams in councils and hospitals. We fielded questions from Councillors, CCG delegates, GPs, and University nursing trainers on our current projects and wider service offering.
The breakout afternoon sessions included companies tackling childhood obesity, Liberty Protection Safeguarding, diabetes management, technology in health and a design company involved in transformation and improvement who integrate mental health games in school lessons and develop social housing swap apps.