Operational update by Jamie Waterall, National Lead, NHS Health Check & Blood Pressure Programmes, Public Health England (PHE)
I would like to start by thanking everyone who submitted an abstract for next year’s NHS Health Check conference ‘Getting serious about prevention’. The quality of submissions was high and wide-ranging in topic, demonstrating the tremendous efforts being made to evaluate the programme. Successful candidates chosen to deliver either an oral or poster presentation will be notified over the next month. Bookings for the conference, which will take place on 1 March 2016, and will open in November.
Earlier in October I had the opportunity to visit colleagues in Yorkshire and Humber (pictured above right) to discuss the challenges and opportunities in implementing the NHS Health Check programme in their region. I wanted to personally thank colleagues for their incredible leadership and commitment towards this programme. It is through visits like this that I hear about the local impact the programme is having within communities. Colleagues from Leeds local authority talked about the impact the programme is having in reducing health inequalities across their city and how colleagues in Barnsley are using the programme to train their workforce in motivational interviewing. I would also like to thank colleagues for their honesty in terms of describing the challenges, such as the impact of reduced public health budgets. I have committed to sharing these concerns, while also continuing to look for opportunities for PHE to support local teams. For example, we are currently discussing with our branding marketing team how we can further support areas to increase awareness of the NHS Health Check, which in turn will support increased uptake.
Colleagues will probably recall that in July 2013, we published a ten-point action plan for the programme, which had been developed after listening to commissioners and providers across England. This has allowed us to focus on the things you considered important at the time, such as:
- creating a national leadership voice for the programme
- developing resources to support quality and consistency
- supporting further research and evaluation of the programme to understand value and impact
- creating local and national networks to facilitate sharing and provide direction towards PHE’s national programme of oversight and support
I am pleased to inform you that we have commissioned another listening exercise which will reflect on our progress against this action plan, while also considering the new and emerging challenges. This work will also allow us to conduct several deep dives into local areas that are achieving impressive outcomes, and to look at those areas that are finding implementation of the programme challenging. Invitations to participate in this research will be going out to all local authorities and I would encourage you to participate as your insights and comments will help shape our support going forward.
Finally, you will find resources and our webinar schedule on our website. We are always keen to hear from you regarding new content suggestions for future webinars, so do get in touch if you have anything to share.