A 10-year vision and strategy for better health

More than 100 people from all over Colchester and Tendring took part in a workshop to help North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) develop a 10-year vision and strategy.

More than 100 people from all over Colchester and Tendring took part in a workshop to help North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) develop a 10-year vision and strategy.

They ranged from a 13-year-old schoolboy to representatives of organisations as diverse as Tendring Pensioners’ Action Group, St Helena Hospice, Colchester Community Voluntary Services, Tendring District Association of Local Councils and Colchester 2020.

Meeting on Friday (23rd) in the Princes Theatre, Clacton, they discussed ways to focus on those most in need of health improvement.

Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, Chief Executive of North East Essex PCT, said he was pleased by the turn-out and the enthusiastic way that people took part.

“Some of the key points that emerged were the need to look at more mobile solutions rather than bricks and mortars, to divert funds into preventative services and to consider commissioning more services from the voluntary sector,” he said.

“We listened very carefully to what was said and will be using that feedback to help shape the development of our 10-year vision and strategy.

“We’ve already done some work with staff and will be consulting widely on the strategy later in the year before asking the PCT board to adopt it in the autumn.

“What’s important to me and my PCT colleagues is that we won’t simply come up with a strategy that will then sit on a shelf gathering dust but we will go out there and implement it and be judged by our actions, rather than our words.

Some of the ideas suggested at the workshop included:

· drop-in surgeries in supermarkets
· GPs in caravans going out to the more remote areas of North East Essex
· making more use of the internet to communicate with young people
· avoiding health jargon and using plain English
· developing a multi-agency health and welfare centre in Tendring similar to Colchester Cornerstone, possibly on a mobile basis
· better training for health care professionals, such as more mental health training for community nurses
· subsidising leisure activities
· making services more accessible eg so students can access sexual health services immediately after college.

Dr Mike Gogarty, the PCT’s Director of Public Health, told the workshop that the focus of public health had switched from conditions like heart disease and cancer to health inequality.

He said people living in Pier ward in Clacton could expect to live 70.1 years compared with 83.4 years for residents of Alresford, which was unacceptable.

There are also significant inequalities in North East Essex for many other issues including long-term illnesses, emergency admissions, psychiatric admissions and teenage conceptions rates, he added.

Among the other organisations represented at the workshop were: Tendring Home Improvement Agency, Tendring Community Voluntary Services, Essex Carers Support, Anglia Ruskin University, Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, Pension Service and various patient groups.

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