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

Councillor charged by police over indecent social media posts

26/09/2018Councillor charged by police over indecent social media posts

Councillor Richard Alderman has been charged by police for allegedly posting “offensive” and “obscene” messages on social... more >
Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

26/09/2018Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has outlined her priorities for dealing with soaring demand of children’s services and social ... more >
Council controversially begins first monthly bin collection in England and Wales

25/09/2018Council controversially begins first monthly bin collection in England and Wales

Monthly bin collections have been introduced for the first time in England and Wales by Conwy County Council, despite major complaints from resid... 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

Social value: what is it and why?

14/09/2018Social value: what is it and why?

Ben Carpenter, chief executive of Social Value UK, discusses the worth of social value, and argues that, before we start measuring social value, we should ask clearly: what is it, and why? Social value is so much more than a value for money exercise. If you see social value as simply a new catchphrase for ‘efficiency savings’... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Crown Commercial Service: Travel solutions on track

10/09/2018Crown Commercial Service: Travel solutions on track

Katrina Williams, head of travel at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), explains how they are helping government organisations to get the best de... more >
LEPs need to do more for England's countryside

10/09/2018LEPs need to do more for England's countryside

Paul Miner, head of strategic plans and devolution at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), highlights the findings of a recent survey wh... more >
What about social care?

10/09/2018What about social care?

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, looks at the exclusion of social care from the government’s rece... more >
Re-evaluating public service reforms

10/09/2018Re-evaluating public service reforms

Chris Painter, professor emeritus at Birmingham City University, explores the paradox of reform principles persisting despite mounting evidence a... more >

interviews

Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >
Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has often been criticised as being slow to adapt to change. But now, says L... more >
Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >

public sector focus

View all News