Local leadership, new approaches: improving the health of local communities
In February 2015, Public Health England and the Local Government Association published a report on how local authorities and the health sector have worked together to improve the health of communities through prevention and early intervention.
An example of this coordination is highlighted in a case study on the new Integrated Wellbeing Service in Blackburn with Darwen. The service has been developed in a joint effort by the borough council and the local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It combines CCG-funded projects concerning specific long-term conditions (e.g. COPD or stroke), together with public health-funded services (e.g. tobacco cessation, health trainers, community physical activity), as well as core council services to address employment, housing and financial issues.
As Councillor Mohammed Khan, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen Health and Wellbeing Board, explains: “[L]ocally we have a lot of services that can improve health and wellbeing. But when you put the person at the centre, and see things from their perspective, it can all seem a bit confusing”. The new Integrated Wellbeing Service, according to Cllr Khan, has removed said confusion, as it utilizes only one phone number, one email address, one referral process and one website to provide access to a broad range of support.