WEST Lancs CVS hosted its autumn Health Network event at the Ecumenical Centre in Skelmersdale The attendance of 70 individuals working within the VCFS, Public and Private sectors across Lancashire and over 40 different organisations ensured good participation and knowledge sharing throughout the day.
For this event WLCVS worked in partnership with the West Lancs CCG, Lancashire LINk, (Healthwatch), NHS Central Lancashire, the West Lancashire Challenge, and also the Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative to present the health information and workshops for the day, Home Instead were invited to attend and hosted a community information stall and also participated on various work shops.
The morning aimed to provide an update on the emergent structures within the health economy in West Lancs, particularly around VCFS, patient and public engagement with the WL CCG and the development of Healthwatch. The afternoon workshop, led by Dr Bapi Biswas a member of the CCG and diabetes lead, focused on diabetes in West Lancs, and its link with health inequalities.
The morning session began with an introduction by Greg Mitten, West Lancashire CVS’s Chief Officer and lay member of the West Lancs CCG. He summarised the challenges and opportunities that faced the VCFS around the new health structures and the need to work in partnership to ensure the West Lancs community was fully mobilised around improving health and well being.It was followed by an update and overview of the overhaul to the NHS and the ‘significant changes’ to public health given by Jane Cass, Acting Assistant Director of Public Health/NHS Central Lancashire, She also discussed the development and structure of the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing board. In future the emphasis will be on putting local communities at the heart of public health, empowering individuals and shifting the focus away from the treatment of illness and onto the causes of poor health instead.
West Lancashire’s Clinical Commissioning Group’s structure, role and its priorities, was then outlined by Dr John Caine, chair of West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group and Dr Simon Frampton, vice chair. From April 2013, responsibility for commissioning local health services in West Lancashire will be transferred from NHS CL PCT to West Lancashire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).The CCG will comprise of 23 GP practices. It will take over the commissioning responsibilities for a population of approximately 112,000 people in West Lancashire.The CCG aims to concentrate on improving quality and length of life for the people of West Lancashire, to ensure safe and effective services that match people’s expectations, to encourage consistent two-way communication, to inform and to make the most effective use of technology and evidence-based practice. Its health priorities linked to those aims were also outlined.
A session on the development of Healthwatch was next given by Andrea Foster, Healthwatch Development Manager and Amanda Capper, LINk Locality Manager.Healthwatch will act as an independent consumer champion for everyone who uses health and social care services. Part of its role will be to gather and record feedback from users – both negative and positive – anonymously and confidentially – and report to the commissioners and managers of health and social care. It was followed by a short exercise and feedback, about what organisations wanted to see resulting from the NHS changes.
The afternoon session focused on diabetes, one of West Lancshealth priority areas.Dr Bapi Biswas, diabetes lead for West Lancs CCG.Amy Witherup from NHS Central Lancashire, and Dee Mitten, of the Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative (SCFI), facilitated a workshop with the attendees.
Figures showed that the incidence of diabetes in West Lancashire is ‘significantly worse than the England average’.SCFI introduced the Walking Away from Diabetes programme, aimed at people who have an increased risk of developing diabetes type 2 by introducing lifestyle changes as a preventative to developing the condition.An invitation to a the WL CCG’s ‘The Adult Type 2 Diabetes Visioning Event’ was issued to take forward the learning from the workshop.