Love Ecology – Part 1 – Alastair McIntosh

At the start of October, we hosted ‘Love Ecology’ in Morecambe Bay. We started the day by reminding ourselves of the journey so far, through Love People, Love Society, Love Economics and Love Politics (I’ll be writing a separate blog on this soon).

 

We then welcomed the force of nature, who is, Professor Alastair McIntosh, aka Radagast the Brown (!), who is an incredible mix of Academic and Activist. He took us on an amazing journey of our disconnection from the land and how we can reconnect to it. This is seriously worthy of your time! Listen – this is so good!

 

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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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Wisdom From My Nanna

Tweet Last week, I was on the closing plenary panel at The Kings Fund, as we reflected on what we had learned together about ‘PopulationHealth’ across the UK. There were some really excellent contributions throughout the day.   Councillor Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, talked powerfully about the new economic models they are using [Continue Reading …]

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The Black Swan Podcast

Tweet I’m super excited to announce the launch of a new podcast: “Black Swan Podcast”   Until 1791, people in the UK assumed all swans were white. Then a black swan was brought to these shores and so perspectives and previously held beliefs and opinions had to change. Sometimes anomalies cause us to stop and [Continue Reading …]

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Truth about Poverty

Tweet One of the best things I have been involved in over the last few years, is the Poverty Truth Commission and it has helped me to learn just how utterly complex and wicked poverty is as an issue. I’m currently reading an absolutely brilliant book by the theologian Samuel Wells, called ‘The Nazareth Manifesto’. [Continue Reading …]

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A Fallow Year

Tweet This coming year of 2019, I am letting my garden have a rest – letting the ground be fallow. It gives space for the soil to replenish and to have its nutrients restored.   I am personally trying to allow much more space this year for contemplation, silence, reflection and the deeper work of stillness. [Continue Reading …]

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To Hull and Back

Tweet Last week I had the complete joy (except for the awfulness that is the M6 and M62!) of heading over to Hull to speak at a gathering of Public Health and Public Sector people from across Yorkshire, The Humber and The East Riding, called “Minding the Gap”, hosted by the amazing Ian Copley. In [Continue Reading …]

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Goldfish and What They Teach Us!

Tweet Last week, I had the privilege of listening to Prof Sandro Galea, from Boston State University talking on the subject: “What do guns, obesity and opiates have in common?!” It was an amazing walk through the world of epidemiology – and the answer? Well – all three things are hugely important problems, they are [Continue Reading …]

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Solutions for the NHS Workforce Crisis

Tweet This week, the Kingsfund, one of the most respected think-tanks on health and social care in the UK declared that the current NHS staffing levels are becoming a ‘national emergency’.   The latest figures have been published by the regulator, NHS Improvement, for the April to June period.   They showed: ■   11.8% [Continue Reading …]

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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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