Representatives from Durham’s health and care community have been brought together for the annual Big Tent Engagement Event, to help shape the future of health and care provision in the county.
The County Durham Health and Wellbeing Board, of which Durham County Council is a member, brought together a range of service users, patients, members of the voluntary and community sector and representatives from other organisations, who came together to give their views, share their experiences, and provide feedback for health and care providers.
The feedback gained from the event is the start of a consultation process which will influence the development of the new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which is due to be presented to the Health and Wellbeing Board for agreement in March 2018.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for health and adult services, and chair of the HWB, said: “The vision of the board is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of County Durham and reduce inequalities, and we can only do this by working in partnership with organisations who provide services and working with local people to help shape the service of the future.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people, all with different views and opinions, coming together under one roof and contributing towards improving local health services for County Durham.”
The event, facilitated by the Local Government Association, featured two key note speakers, Professor Ann McNeill, a professor of tobacco addiction at the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London, and Lenny Shallcross, head of community engagement at the Alzheimer’s Society, who spoke to the 200 delegates who attended the event.
Professor McNeill said: “Tobacco is still the number one cause of premature death in County Durham and a key driver of health inequalities, so I am pleased to see the priority that the Health and Wellbeing Board is giving this.
“I am delighted to be attending the ‘Big Tent Event’ and discussing the importance of maintaining the momentum around tobacco control and building upon the excellent progress that has been made.
“Durham’s vision of 5% smoking by 2030 sends a very clear message of its commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of communities across the whole county.”
Lenny Shallcross said “The Alzheimer’s Society are delighted that Durham recognises the importance of dementia and have made it one of the priorities in their Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
“The Dementia Advisor Service and the roll out of dementia friendly communities across Durham which will focus on improving inclusion and quality of life for people living with dementia are really important and exciting initiatives to support those that maybe affected by dementia, their families and carers.”
Seven workshops were arranged for the event, included a wide range of discussion topics that affect the health and wellbeing of residents in County Durham.
Included this year were both adult and children’s mental health, dementia, obesity, smoking, the role of carers, and the Active Durham Partnership.
• Pictured above: Dr Stewart Findlay, Chief Clinical Officer, Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group Vice Chair of County Durham Health and Wellbeing Board; Councillor Lucy Hovvels MBE, Chair of County Durham Health and Wellbeing Board and Lenny Shallcross, Head of Community Engagement, Alzheimer’s Society.