Archive for the ‘prevention’ Category

By Andy Rhodes, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary and the link between health and the local policing community in National Police Chiefs Council for the police and health consensus

Let me start out on this blog by acknowledging how I feel about prevention and partnership working most days. It’s complicated and challenging both professionally and personally. It’s helpful to know how people like me feel, and it’s even more important for me to understand how my people are feeling and how other organisations are feeling. I think we (the police) drive other organisations nuts sometimes, and I can reassure you the feeling is mutual!

But here’s the important thing. It’s because it’s complicated and difficult that it’s worthwhile… if it was easy everyone would already be doing it, so I thought I’d set out three reasons why a police and health consensus is worthwhile investing your time and energy into.

Number 1 – Listen to your heart
As a police officer I have seen first-hand the harm late intervention can cause. We are rarely surprised when we see young people who have grown up in an environment where trauma is their constant normality emerge as vulnerable victims and offenders, often with tragic consequences. Our hearts tell us this is wrong, yet our involvement can all too often be at the crisis end. It’s like watching a train hurtling towards a fallen bridge without any sense of hope that you can stop it. But we know we can. Throughout my career I’ve met countless professionals who share this burning desire to prevent escalation, and the evidence and research that sits behind the consensus shows us how much amazing work is going on, despite austerity. What those people deserve is leadership, evaluation support and total clarity from the very top that prevention is everyone’s job. Great leaders roll their sleeves up and do the hard work for the future. They don’t sit around commentating on the situation like a passive bystander. Our values are present throughout the consensus.

Number 2 – Listen to your head
If number 1 doesn’t work for you I won’t judge you because I think I may know why. If you’re in the police you’ll be seeing 80% of frontline work now supporting very complex client groups with mental health issues, exploitation and domestic abuse. You are being asked by those good folk whose job it is to ask hard questions, things like: “Do you understand your current and future demand and have you got the capacity and capability to deal with it?” And it feels overwhelming. Am I right?

Guess what? Police data isn’t as good as health data in terms of predicting harm. Guess what? The interventions that work best are the cheapest and earliest. Guess what? You don’t know it all. None of us know it all. The difference with the consensus is the reliance on evidence and data as well as a landscape review providing insights into how the system is adapting despite our best efforts to maintain a status quo that has never actually worked. Take this as your starting point to help influence, negotiate and shape our system.

Number 3 – Influence, accept and control
System change only happens when we place the end-user at the centre of our decision-making and to do that we need to see the system from their perspective. Standardised responses to variable need don’t work. So the consensus sets us the challenge of working across systems that are already under huge pressure… we are trying to fix the plane whilst it’s flying, so to speak. I don’t expend too much energy on things I have to accept (there is a fair bit on that list). As a leader I look at what I can control and where I can influence. But before we rush off in true completer-finisher style, take my advice: “Don’t just do something… stand there.” Use the consensus to stimulate enquiry, to challenge some of your assumptions, and hopefully this may lead you to a shift in thinking which basically looks like this.

Please use the consensus to add weight to your negotiations locally through the established partnerships at a strategic and local level.

If we don’t invest in working together to prevent escalation today the consequences for tomorrow will be devastating. Not just for your organisation but for society as a whole. End of.

I’ll end with a Gandhi quote which is on our meeting room wall. It’s there because we mean it, and our consensus gives us confidence that we are on solid ground with the evidence base and points us to innovation across the country deserving of our attention. Time to turn a piece of paper into action or go and get an easier job.

“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”






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By Jamie Waterall, National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Associate Deputy Chief Nurse at Public Health England, and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham

Over recent weeks, we’ve seen constant media reporting about the increased pressures our health and care system is experiencing.

There’s no disputing that the NHS is facing ever greater demands, often linked to our aging population and many more people living with long-term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain cancers.

But it’s worrying that most of the news reports only focus on the need for more acute hospital beds and ambulances, rather than discussing the need for a radical upgrade in prevention to reduce demand on these services.

As public health professionals we know that there are no easy solutions to the pressure on our health and care system. These are complex problems, requiring a whole-systems response.

However, we also know that many of the health issues keeping our hospitals so busy are preventable. Having worked in acute medicine and cardiology for a number of years I witnessed the scores of patients I treated who were admitted to hospital with conditions that could have been delayed or avoided altogether.

And when working in the acute trust environment, I would have agreed that more beds and acute services was the answer to our problems. It was not until I was working in primary care as a nurse consultant that I became more aware of the need for an increased focus on prevention.

So I frequently ask myself; how can we better harness the skills of our trusted front-line professionals, ensuring we all get behind this radical upgrade.

Our research informs us that there’s real appetite to build more prevention into our daily practice, however it also shows us that there can be barriers and challenges.

Time and resource is of course an issue, but we’ve heard that some professionals can be apprehensive about talking to members of the public about their weight, for instance, or whether they smoke or keep active. We also know that there can be uncertainty about the availability of local lifestyle services to refer patients to.

With all this in mind, Public Health England has developed All Our Health, a framework which supports all health and care professions to get more involved in the upgrade in prevention. It provides tools and advice to support ‘health promoting practice’ with quick links to evidence and impact measures and top tips on what works.

Based on user research we’re making improvements to All Our Health as well as forging new links with universities and Health Education England, so we can build more prevention into the way we train our future professionals to practise in this different world with new expectations and opportunities.

We also hope All Our Health will help health and care professionals to engage with the local public health system, including getting involved in the development of prevention initiatives.

Surveys of the public constantly show that our frontline health staff are amongst the most trusted professionals in our communities. Just imagine the impact if our estimated two million health and care staff built more prevention into their practice. We could truly achieve the radical upgrade we so urgently need to see.

For further information and to read more about All Our Health, click here.


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