Claire Fisher from Healthwatch Enfield on how NHS leaders and residents are working together to improve quality of life
In partnership with Enfield Council, the local NHS and voluntary sector, Healthwatch Enfield is developing a new strategy that aims to increase healthy life expectancy for Enfield residents.
In other words; living healthy and independent lives as we age, rather than simply living longer but in poor health. Research so far has shown that three main behaviours – smoking, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating – contribute to four main diseases; cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.
Unsurprisingly, all these factors are intrinsically intertwined with good mental health. With the focus on developing the detail of Enfield Council’s health and wellbeing strategy, we invited a panel of local NHS and council leaders to attend Healthwatch Enfield’s annual conference last month and work alongside more than 100 people. Working together in small groups, local residents and service leaders discussed the range of challenges preventing people from living, or switching, to a healthy lifestyle.
There were lots of creative ideas and solutions put forward by residents and it was great to see leaders, such as councillors and hospital chief executives, immersed in discussions with them throughout the day. You don’t get more ‘consultative’ than that! The feedback from this event will help inform the final detail of the strategy, which is due to be signed off by the council’s health and wellbeing board in May.
Our team is now busy typing up and analysing all the feedback into a formal report, but more importantly, your feedback went direct to the ears of those who make the decisions, so watch this space!
Here’s one example of feedback given by local residents who participated in Healthwatch Enfield’s annual conference: “Hearing from the councillors and health leaders, meeting with other community champions, and learning about other services and projects going on in the community that I’d not heard about, was a key feature of the day.”
Linking with Enfield’s cancer prevention goals, did you know many cancers are treatable if caught early? The council is working on developing an awareness campaign and we are helping them find out what residents already do and don’t know about early signs and symptoms of cancer. Please support this really important cause by taking the short survey available at smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CancerAwarenesss