Havering Council healthcare: “early help and prevention is key”

Havering Council will help people earlier, keep them in their own homes longer and reduce hospital admissions.

These are some of the key aims of the council’s new strategy for public health which was approved by cabinet on Wednesday last week.

Cabinet member for individuals Cllr Steven Kelly (Conservative, Emerson Park) outlined the plans to the meeting.

The council is being given responsibility for public health from April next year, although this will not include acute care in hospitals like Queen’s in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

The new Health and Wellbeing Strategy document identifies eight priorities for the council:

-Earlier help for vulnerable people to live independently for longer.

-Improved identification and support for vulnerable people with dementia.

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-Earlier detection of cancer.

-Tackling obesity.

-Better care for the ‘frail elderly’ population.

-Better care for vulnerable children.

-Reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

-Improve the quality of health services to ensure that patient experience and long-term health outcomes are the best they can be.

Outlining one of the issues faced, Cllr Kelly explained how he hopes cancer death rates can be lowered: “We have the highest death rate of people with cancer from when it’s diagnosed,” he said.

“The quality of care is still superb, but we’re not diagnosing soon enough, and we are not picking up the problems until it’s too late.”

He added that a “holistic” approach was needed, which would encourage police, schools, probation and social services to work together to identify the medical needs of the vulnerable.

Cllr Linda van den Hende (Residents’ Association, Upminster) and Cllr Paul McGeary (Labour, Heaton) both pointed out a lack of specific targets for many of the objectives in the strategy.

Cllr Kelly explained that these may be developed at a later stage.

Cabinet members approved the new strategy.

The document can be read on the council’s website at http://democracy.havering.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=584.

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