New £100,000 scheme to tackle poor health in Harlow
Communities / Wed 12th Oct 2022 am31 08:14am
A NEW scheme has been launched to help improve the health of people living in some of our area’s most challenged communities.
Through the ‘Our Health Matters’ scheme, pilot projects are being set up in six district council wards, in Hertsmere, Epping Forest and Harlow, where residents face some of the biggest barriers to living long, happy and healthy lives.
Staff called ‘Community Connectors’ will work alongside families, individuals and community groups to really understand the issues that affect their health. Residents and Community Connectors will then work together to ensure that people living with serious health conditions including severe mental illness, high blood pressure and respiratory diseases get the expert help they need, and to improve the detection of cancer signs and symptoms.
As well as helping people to get the healthcare they need, when they need it, Community Connectors will work with local people to develop schemes in their area that help people to stay well.
Dr Jane Halpin, the Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and west Essex Integrated Care Board said:
“This programme is about much more than just providing healthcare. It involves listening to communities to find out what is making people ill in the first place, and then making the changes that will make a difference. We know that poor health can be caused by loneliness, anxiety, poverty, crime, inadequate housing and unemployment – as well as a number of other causes that can’t be addressed by healthcare professionals alone.
“By taking a new, community-based approach we hope to help people to have the happy, healthy lives that we would all like to see for ourselves and our families.”
NHS and social care organisations from the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System area are working with the voluntary and community sector organisations ‘Communities 1st’ in Hertfordshire and ‘Rainbow Services’ in west Essex to develop and deliver the Community Connectors programme locally. Communities 1st will deliver the programme in the Cowley Hill and Brook Meadow wards in Hertsmere, and Rainbow Services will deliver the programme in the Loughton Alderton & Waltham Abbey Paternoster wards in Epping Forest, and the Toddbrook and Staple Tye Wards in Harlow.
The programme will run until March 2024, with the £100,000 costs met by a national scheme, following a successful bid by organisations from the Hertfordshire and west Essex Integrated Care System.
Tim Anfilogoff Head of Community Resilience for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, said: “The Our Health Matters approach recognises that people and communities often know what they need and what would work, and that the NHS and our public and voluntary sector services needs to hear from these communities.
“By working alongside people, listening to them, supporting them and sharing their ideas, we can take a big step forward in addressing the gaps in healthcare.”
I hope they also screen people for diabetes and thyroid conditions as these are factors in depression and anxiety. But in any event, this sounds like a good initiative.