The Raven's Blog

10.11.17

A new paradigm for public health

Heather Henry RN MBA, Queens nurse and chair of the New NHS Alliance looks into the issue of health inequality. 

Health inequality is like the many-headed hydra of Greek mythology: no matter how many heads you cut off, the beast of rising illness is still coming to get you.

It’s time to reconsider the weapons we use to slay the hydra. It´s time to think about whether we need new ones.

Both academics and national leaders have opened a dialogue about the future of public health. Arguably, there have been four distinct ‘waves’ to advances in public health: sanitation, germ warfare driven by health technology breakthroughs such as antibiotics and vaccination, welfare reform and more latterly, lifestyle approaches – nudging behaviour change around things like alcohol consumption and exercise. Do we now need next-generation versions of these weapons, or do we need a fifth wave of public health?

Put simply, current public health approaches consist of the ‘3Ps’: health promotion, prevention and protection. Each is predicated on the idea of understanding the causes of illness.

But what if we focus on better understanding the causes of wellness? This is where we need the paradigm shift. Here, the emphasis is on social change not just service change.

Duncan Selbie, the chief executive of Public Health England eloquently sums up what it is to be well as: “having someone to love, somewhere to live and something meaningful to do.” New NHS Alliance goes further in terms of explaining how to achieve these things.

We call it the ‘3Cs’: control over the circumstances of your life, meaningful social contact and confidence to live the life you want to. These are complementary to the 3Ps, not competing. But, a purely biomedical approach is reductionist – people are not their kidneys or their anxiety. What impacts people experiencing disadvantage is past traumatic events and a life of chronic stress. You can’t vaccinate against these. And, isn´t it any wonder that the incidence of smoking and alcohol misuse is more prevalent in these communities.

So, on Wednesday 6 December at the Royal College of General Practitioners, New NHS Alliance will be holding our annual summit to discuss the economics of what we call ‘Health Creation’. Can a social model of health save money or even help the local economy, while addressing health inequalities? We will be discussing and debating innovative Health Creation approaches and ideas. For example, people who have experienced severe disadvantage starting their own businesses and improving their wellbeing by giving meaning and purpose back to them, as well as a small income. We will explore how really listening and working alongside communities, such as Gypsy Travellers, can help them feel valued and in control, as well as saving the system serious money. We will consider how different sectors, such as high street pharmacies and housing providers can be health creating by putting ‘what matters to me’ on an equal footing with ‘what’s the matter with me’.

If you are seriously interested in innovative approaches to addressing the scandal of health inequalities, please join us on the 6 December. Don´t forget to come along with an open mind.

To find out more about whether our 2017 Action Summit is right for you and your colleagues, please click here.  

Comments

Styles   10/11/2017 at 19:02

http://bit.ly/2hqIdF4

Nancy Clark   20/11/2017 at 15:07

'Having something meaningful to do' has been the ethos of occupational therapy and occupational therapists, for over a hundred years! I hope this isn't forgotten and is included within your December meeting.

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Newham council to set up commission into ‘astonishing failures’ amid £9m fraud allegations

15/01/2019Newham council to set up commission into ‘astonishing failures’ amid £9m fraud allegations

Newham LBC is establishing a wide-ranging commission to review its financial management in the wake of “astonishing failures of system cont... more >
Norfolk council proposes closing 38 children centres in updated proposal following backlash

15/01/2019Norfolk council proposes closing 38 children centres in updated proposal following backlash

Around 70% of children’s centres in Norfolk are set to close despite major opposition to the closures, with Norfolk County Council now prop... more >
Greater oversight of local governance needed as NAO slams government’s lack of transparency

15/01/2019Greater oversight of local governance needed as NAO slams government’s lack of transparency

Oversight of local governance systems must be improved by the government to help councils cope with increasing financial and demand pressures, ac... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >

the raven's daily blog

Bus franchising is the biggest power new mayors have - they should use it

15/01/2019Bus franchising is the biggest power new mayors have - they should use it

It will face opposition at first, but transitioning to a system of bus franchising is the best and only option to truly modernise transport systems across our city regions, argues Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North. England’s new metro mayors are slowly reshaping English politics. Next year, the mayors elected in 2017... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Government accountability: A year in crises

15/01/2019Government accountability: A year in crises

From Windrush to Univerisal Credit: the Institute for Government’s (IfG’s) accountability lead Benoit Guerin discusses how we can ave... more >
Rethinking public-private partnerships

15/01/2019Rethinking public-private partnerships

Trinley Walker, senior policy researcher at the New Local Government Network (NLGN) considers some different ways of approaching the relationship... more >
Fracking: divest to invest

07/01/2019Fracking: divest to invest

Deirdre Duff, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth, takes a look at local authorities’ role in fracking. The fossil fuel indu... more >
Building credit with the public sector

07/01/2019Building credit with the public sector

Mark Morrin, localism lead and principal research consultant at ResPublica, makes the case for salary-deducted lending to sit alongside a broader... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News