Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Professor Chris Whitty, met with Plymouth City Council’s Chief Executive, Tracey Lee, as well as colleagues from Public Health to learn about the authority’s partnership work in addressing health inequalities and improving local residents’ wellbeing.
Professor Whitty visited a number of venues after delivering a lecture on his Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2021, Health in Coastal Communities, at the University of Plymouth, where he had also received an honorary doctorate.
He was interested to find out more about the city’s collaborative approach to supporting vulnerable people and those with complex needs, for example through the Plymouth Alliance.
This is where service providers and commissioners take collective responsibility in tackling issues, such as homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, mental illness and offending.
He heard about Plymouth’s Trauma-Informed Practice, where partners work together to recognise, understand and respond to the impact that different kinds of stress and trauma can have on people’s emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.
He also learned how Thrive Plymouth is helping to prevent and reduce the number of deaths caused by coronary heart disease, stroke, cancers and respiratory problems by tackling poor diet, lack of exercise, tobacco use and excess alcohol consumption.
During his time in the city, Professor Whitty visited the Four Greens Wellbeing Hub in Whitleigh, one of the first community hubs set up to help people in more deprived neighbourhoods lead longer, happier and healthier lives by focusing on prevention and making services easier to access.
He also visited Hamoaze House in Devonport, a support and rehabilitation centre for those with problematic drug and alcohol use and their families.
Commenting, Plymouth City Council’s Chief Executive, Tracey Lee said:
“We were delighted to welcome Professor Whitty today and show him the excellent partnership work taking place to address Plymouth’s health and social care challenges and improve the wellbeing of our communities.
“We are proud of our close, collaborative links with the NHS and other partners, as well as the community and voluntary sector, in reducing inequalities and helping people to live longer, healthier and happy lives.”
Professor Whitty added:
“It was very interesting to hear about the impressive and innovative partnerships in Plymouth working to tackle complex health challenges.
“I was struck by the dedication of colleagues to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community and who continue to work tirelessly following an extremely difficult last 18 months.”