https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2016/09/05/the-future-drivers-of-londoners-health/

The Future drivers of Londoners' health

London

We work for Londoners' health every day, but occasionally we need to look up and see what is over the horizon. In London we have recently delivered the final webinar in our Future Drivers of the Health of Londoners webinar series. These webinars, jointly delivered by PHE London and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) London, aimed to explore the key strategic drivers which are likely to impact the health of Londoners over the next five years. It is our offer to colleagues around London to share, learn and think together.

Over five weeks our webinars explored a range of topics including London in the future, how to support Londoners through public sector reform, what role the NHS plays in health improvement and prevention and digital technology. Each webinar was chaired by a topic expert and we were incredibly fortunate to have a range of high calibre partners working with us on the series, leading thought provoking conversations.

A common theme throughout each webinar was the future health of Londoners, the foundation of this series. We explored how Londoners are active participants- they shape London as a city and health and care services are increasingly designed to meet their lifestyle and health needs. When talking about the London population I was acutely aware of the changing geography of poverty and wealth in the capital. Health inequalities must continue to be addressed; we cannot simply displace deprived populations, but work to improve their outcomes. This is closely linked to the Inside Out report which we contributed to which examined how inner and outer London has changed specifically in terms of income, housing tenure and occupation.

I was delighted to chair one of the webinars which looked at public sector reform and how health and social care services contribute to health improvement. Talking with partners from across the London landscape I was reminded of the incredible assets available to us; world class educational institutes, prominent think tanks and global organisations. We need to harness the expertise available to us, and forge relationships with partners that will directly address the strategic drivers of the health of Londoners. I hope the leaders we engaged with were inspired to look at the local assets in their borough, or those available at a Pan London level which could help in safeguarding and improving the health of Londoners.

Through each of these webinars we sought to engage local leaders in a conversation about what factors could impact or be of significant importance to the health of Londoners, along with what some of the solutions might look like. A particular highlight for me was hearing about how digital technology is being used to enhance service provision, or improve service access. One example we discussed was a digital diabetes prevention programme developed by Omada Health in the US, showing how health improvement services can be successfully migrated to online/digital platforms.

So, what next? This work highlighted that there are a number of strategic drivers of change that public health systems need to be aware of, engage with and converse with local leaders about, as they could ultimately improve health outcomes for people living in the capital. This conversation needs to be held in the context of further devolved financial powers, public sector reform and importantly, the opportunities through local sustainable transformation plans and the Five Year Forward View. The local health system needs to be sustainable if it is going to ensure the future health of Londoners.

Local conversations are important; we realised very early into the project that whilst we were discussing the drivers of change from a London wide perspective, the solutions, opportunities and implications were likely to be realised at a local level.   The next phase of this project will look at developing a series of engaging resources to help facilitate local conversations between leaders within the public health system- leaders in public health are integral in this work.

I urge you to take the lead and engage with the other strategic partners within your local public health system, to continue the conversation and ensure the future health of your local population. Together, as one system, bringing together our key partners in transport, housing, employment, health and social care, we can work to identify what needs to be done to ensure these drivers have a positive impact on the future health of all Londoners.

Image: Dan Blows

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