Councillor warns action is needed to tackle Luton's health inequalities after report published
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The Reverend Lloyd Denny, from Luton, has been working with residents and health and care partners during the past three years to conduct a thorough review of this problem.
The project aimed to reveal “which communities in our area experience the greatest health inequalities, and what the barriers are to accessing health and care services”, according to a report to the local authority’s health and wellbeing board.
It also intended to show “what the lived experiences of health inequality are, and how we can remove barriers, improve experience and support good health”, said the report.
“Partners from public health, Healthwatch, the voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSE), the University of Bedfordshire and the NHS agreed the foundations for the study and to embed it into current work programmes.”
Labour Challney councillor Khtija Malik asked the board: “How will we measure what’s emerged from the Denny report around health improvements?”
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board chief primary care officer Nicky Poulain replied: “It’s probably better to have a really focused session on that. The point you raise is being identified around ‘how do we know we’ve made a difference’?
“The findings of Denny are completely complimentary to the work of Marmot and those things with which we’re already dealing.”
Labour Lewsey councillor Hazel Simmons, who chairs the board and council, suggested the Reverend Denny should be invited to a future meeting, having led on the report. Luton GP and BLMK primary care training hub chairman Dr Nina Pearson said: “I hope it gets a public launch. There’s the understanding of the Denny report. Then it’s the ‘so what’? How do we know it’s made a difference?
“As a clinician, how have my patients I’ve referred into other services managed? How are they being prioritised, understanding the inequalities they’re subject to and that they’re suffering, which makes a difference to their time on the waiting list or the support to get to appointments.
“There are all sorts of ramifications from this, some of which will be quite simple to put into place. I would endorse getting into the detail at a future session.”
LBC’s portfolio holder for public health and integration councillor Malik added: “My frustration is there’s so much research work, although we already know the inequalities.
“But then nothing happens and that’s when communities lose trust in us. For me, it’s about how this will be reported back and working together in partnership to see the changes that are made.
“Or we come back again and say we’re doing another review now. We’ve had enough reviews. It’s time we saw some action.”
Healthwatch Luton chief executive Lucy Nicholson explained: “It’s the start of a conversation. The report is embedding in several programmes across the board.
“The fact it’s being spoken about is much further on than where we were before. Part of our role will be holding everyone to account and ensuring that action plan emerges.”
SOURCE: Luton Borough Council health and wellbeing board (October 16) meeting.