This week we are talking Health and Wellbeing. A member of the communications team reports back on her experience of attending the high profile Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board meeting. You may be thinking it’s just another board meeting, so what – but actually it was a very interesting and a relevant meeting for every resident of Leeds. Health is everyone’s business, is it not?
I attended the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on Wednesday 24 July 2013 and the agenda was packed with a variety of items. The item that grabbed my immediate attention was the focus on ‘People will live longer and have healthier lives’, outcome 1 in the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy. It was so interesting listening to the different points of view across the partners on how to tackle health issues such as drugs and alcohol and best start in life, which covers everything from conception to 2 years, through good maternal and paternal bonding and nutritional health, as well as pregnancy, birth and beyond. I never thought a meeting would be so interesting. I think for me it was because I could really relate to the points being raised; it is life, and the battles that many of us face! I was gripped! The timing of the item, the format of the meeting and the contribution from all members was brilliant, I would definitely go again.
Smokers know that smoking could cause cancer, and cancer can kill, so why don’t people stop? These are the types of challenges the board is facing, to try to support people to choose healthy lifestyles. Did you know in Leeds approximately 146,000 people over the age of 16 smoke? Yes, I thought that too and that is just one health issue.
After the board meeting the members stayed for a training session to look at how Leeds can become dementia friendly as of part the ‘Dementia Friendly Society’, which looks at what it feels like to live with dementia as a society and how we need to listen, support and respect people and help change the stigma of mental ill health. Taking part means signing up to a newsletter, encouraging more people to take part in the training and spreading the word on how we can be more understanding. Following the success of the first board meeting, the board agreed to support the ‘Living Well with Dementia’ strategy and become a Dementia Friendly society. Sorry to keep sharing statistics but again, did you know one in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and currently 8,500 people are living with the condition in Leeds – with this figure predicted to rise by 40% in the next 15 years? The training was a success and the Alzheimer’s Society want to encourage people to sign up and take part in the dementia friendly training.
Since attending the meeting I had the chance to talk to Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, to find out about her role on the board and why her experience as a councillor and a parent can help towards the vision ‘Leeds will be a healthy and caring city for all ages, where people who are the poorest will improve their health the fastest’ click here to find out what Councillor Mulherin had to say.
For more information on the Health and Wellbeing Strategy click here.