The NHS as an Anchor Institution

The Preston Model of economics has set many heads turning and tongues wagging! If you don’t know the story, it is well worth reading about, as it offers much hope for the future. Alternatively, you can hear Cllr Matthew Brown talking about it here.

 

If the NHS really took on board what it means to be an anchor institution, as the largest employer in the UK, it could have a seismic effect on the economy, the environment, the health and wellbeing of the people and social justice. It is well within the gift and grasp of the NHS for this to become a reality, both locally and nationally and would involve some basic and fairly straightforward changes (and some more slightly complex ones!) Here is a starter for 10:

 

1) Pay everyone in the NHS a living wage

2) Reinvest the NHS pension pot, taking it out of global corporations or off shore tax havens and instead putting it into local infrastructure and regeneration schemes

3) Ensure the physical and mental health and wellbeing of all staff, through developing the 5 ways to wellbeing in the work place and leading by example by ensuring healthy food options for patients and staff. This could also include all staff having 1/2 day per month to volunteer with local charities, communities and schools around health and wellbeing initiatives

4) Create positive discrimination to employ people and offer apprenticeships/training opportunities to people from more economically deprived neighbourhoods (as per Oldham) to help generate more economic wellbeing

5) Only procure from local/regional companies, again to improve local investment and ensure these companies also have a good health and wellbeing strategy for their own staff

6) Take responsibility for developing a green strategy

7) Join with other large local employers to develop this wider strategy and economic development plan, e.g around green transport, job creation and supporting worker cooperatives – this needs to include local councils and universities

8) Be part of the new local bank/credit unions being set up so that new banking systems are more accountable

9) Work with local schools which are struggling, and create healthy school partnerships which both secure the wellbeing of future generations and can create a more committed and secure workforce through new training schemes

10) Support the community voluntary and faith sector with both practical resource and infrastructure support through the primary care networks and integrated partnerships

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few examples. Imagine, though, what a huge difference it would make if NHS England, every Integrated Care System, each Integrated Care Partnership and every Primary Care Network adopted this kind of plan. We might focus less on the effects of poverty on health and more on what we can do to make a difference to it, because we would be a part of generating wealth and improving health! This takes the NHS into the doughnut and creates an economy of wellbeing – why wouldn’t we do this?! It’s easy to understand and not too hard to implement!

 

 

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Health and Society

Every year I get to give a guest lecture at UCLAN medical school on health and society. Here is my lecture from this year – always a moving feast and next year it will be different. It’s about an hour long, so makes good as a podcast, if you’re interested! Mainly aimed at doctors in training, but I hope is interesting for all! I cover the wider issues like: why we’re currently losing, social determinants of health, poverty, choice and responsiblity, social movement, new power, humility, kindness and various other things! UCLAN is a new medical school and I love their approach to teaching. You’ll need to copy and paste the link below into a new browser to hear the lecture and view the slides.

 

https://vls.uclan.ac.uk/Play/34633

 

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A Vision for Population Health and Wellbeing – All Together We Can

Tweet If you haven’t yet had the chance to read the Kings Fund’s vision for population health (and it’s the kind of thing that interests you) then I would heartily recommend that you do so. (https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/vision-population-health). It is a real ‘Tour de Force’ and deserves some significant consideration. I like it because it doesn’t hold [Continue Reading …]

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How Do We Build a City That Works For Everyone?

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Health and Society – Can we make a Difference? Part 1 – Economics

Tweet If we want to make a difference to health and wellbeing in society, tackling health inequalities, whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of the environment and creating a fair and just save for humanity…..we have to ask ourselves some searching questions about whether or not our current economic models are really fit for purpose. [Continue Reading …]

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Who is Responsible for Your Health?

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Building Healthy Towns and Regions

Tweet The other week, I was phoned by a BBC producer to ask if I would take part in a discussion on the Victoria Derbyshire show about how we can build healthy towns. It’s partly due to the work we’re doing here in Morecambe Bay with our communities around being more healthy and well, especially [Continue Reading …]

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The Ethics of Health Economics

Tweet The ethics of Healthcare is about 2000 years ahead of the ethics of Health Economics! All doctors in the UK take an amended Hippocratic oath when we qualify, in which we promise to:   Do no harm Prioritise the patient Treat the whole person, not just the symptom Obtain prior informed consent Call on the [Continue Reading …]

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