Posted tagged ‘health’

Watching Healthwatch

February 21, 2012

We have discussed on this blog before about the benefits of moving about and becoming part of a wider local government family, and by living this ideal I recently came across something which has not really crossed my radar too closely until now.  On a semi-regular meet up with a colleague from another borough, I discovered the weird and wonderful world that is Healthwatch.

What’s that you say?  You’ve never heard of Healthwatch before?  Well, you certainly wouldn’t be alone.  This idea is part of the Health and Social Care Bill which is currently working its tortuous and controversial way through the system, and aims to replace LINks, or Local Involvement Networks.  What’s that you say?  You’ve never heard of them either?

LINks have been around now for a good few years, and have aimed to help local people have more of a say about the quality of healthcare in their area.  They are networks of people, usually hosted by a separate organisation and based around the involvement of volunteers.  Healthwatch apparently looks set to take these responsibilities and add some others into the mix, adding a little more teeth and a few extra pennies into the mix for good measure.

These may be very good intentions, but what hope is there really when so few people even know of its existence? (more…)

An unhealthy situation

September 29, 2011

Council staff may need to get that doctorate after all

My husband’s birthday is coming up soon.  I know it’s coming up, and that I will be expected to buy a nice present, perhaps cook a nice meal and maybe if he’s lucky arrange a bit of a party, but so far I haven’t.  Life’s been busy, other things have taken my time and attention and generally I’ve let it slide, no doubt to remember again a few days before and pick him up a ‘humorous’ card, a Chris Ryan novel and some random golf-related stuff.

In fact, I’m feeling very local government about it all.  You see, councils up and down the country are going through the same thing.  In 2013, the responsibilities previously undertaken by the PCT around public health will transfer lock, stock and anti-smoking barrel to their council counterparts.

2013 is just 15 months away.  If you were wondering, that’s 66 Mondays away from the day this post goes live.

But are we in the council ready?  Have we got long term plans and strategies in place to handle these changes, with work currently underway to prepare the ground for an influx of new officers and workstreams, working to understand how we can avoid simply tagging them on to other areas but really make them part of an integrated service and weaving them into the service delivery plans of their new colleagues? (more…)

Being Mindful

July 19, 2011

It's not always easySome of our own posts and our guest posts are a little lighter hearted in nature, dealing with ridiculous dress codes, badly judged e-mails or ways you can identify when you’ve been in local government too long.  We love sharing them too, so if you’ve got something you want to say then e-mail it to us at welovelocalgovernent@gmail.com

However, we are not shy of addressing some more serious issues affecting the lives of local government officers, and today’s guest post does just that.  We hope you read it and understand a little more about the issues it discusses by the end than you might have at the beginning.

Cost.  That has become a bit of a dirty word in the office these days: how much money something costs, how much time it costs, how much energy it costs to get things done.

These costs are generally speaking organisational, and are usually relatively straightforward to quantify.  However, a major area of cost which never finds its way onto any balance sheets is the cost to people, and even when certain costs are accounted for there is one glaring omission – the cost to ones mental health.

Mental health is something so often misunderstood, even by those who mean well.  Some feel they are understanding people, who will do all they can to support someone through their mental health battles with the idea that it can be beaten and overcome, put in the past and moved on from.

Others take the opposite tack, trying to treat them as they would anyone else and not making a big issue out of it in the hope that distraction with other ‘more important and urgent’ issues will put mental health firmly in its place at the bottom of any priority list.

For those of us in local government these are incredibly stressful and difficult times.  Even the most stoic and mentally healthy person can find themselves wobbling at the moment; tempers fraying, long silences growing, work and relationships suffering as the constant and increasing pressures and responsibilities are placed upon them.

For those of us who were fighting mental health problems even during the ‘good old days’ of local government, things can be a fair bit harder. (more…)

Don’t hate the referee

February 24, 2011

Are we really to blame for the obesity epidemic?

There is a saying: don’t hate the player, hate the game.  Well, today a revision of this came to mind: don’t hate the referee, hate the game.

Listening to the radio I heard a story on the child obesity epidemic ‘sweeping the nation’.  Several London boroughs took up a chunk of the top ten places, with the rest scattered around the country.  Whilst childhood obesity is not something to defend or be supportive of, what annoyed me was the line of attack from the radio hosts and the target for their ire.

In case you hadn’t guessed, yet again local government was taken to task over this issue, and told exactly how unacceptable the situation is.  I agree, but what exactly can we do, above our current efforts. (more…)