Don’t leave it to the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion to keep you healthy

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - SI­MON MOR­RIS

LAST THURS­DAY’S Health In­sight event marked the end of the sec­ond se­ries of these events, events that have left a mark on me per­son­ally.

I have heard lead­ers in their field ex­plain the causes, ef­fects and pre­ven­tion of con­di­tions rang­ing from de­men­tia and Parkin­son’s to strokes and can­cer.

I have been con­sumed by some fright­en­ing statis­tics and seen some images that maybe I would rather not have seen, but I recog­nise this is all part of this im­por­tant health ed­u­ca­tion jour­ney I have been on.

I have no­ticed two com­mon threads run­ning through each event. Firstly, the need for ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tion. This won’t just hap­pen. It comes through in­form­ing and ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple so they can take con­trol, be it through weight loss, ex­er­cise or quit­ting smok­ing.

In some in­stances, there are in­creased hered­i­tary risks, ones if we know about we can mon­i­tor care­fully.

The sec­ond theme ev­ery speaker men­tioned is the im­mense pres­sure the NHS is un­der and the im­pact it had on their own de­part­men­tal re­sources.

This win­ter has been like no other for the NHS. The cracks in the ser­vice have grown sig­nif­i­cantly with the un­der-in­vest­ment in so­cial care. Last week’s bud­get promised a £2 bil­lion ex­tra spend­ing on so­cial care over the next three years — a wel­come recog­ni­tion of the des­per­ate need for ad­di­tional fund­ing. It won’t fix the cracks but could stop them crum­bling more.

When it comes to fund­ing of health and so­cial care there is no magic fix. While the fund­ing of health and so­cial care works in si­los, the health and so­cial care needs of in­di­vid­u­als are in­trin­si­cally in­ter­twined.

As so­cial care providers we know this and are work­ing hard to en­sure we de­velop re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal health pro­fes­sion­als. It isn’t al­ways easy but when it works, the ben­e­fits to the in­di­vid­ual are ob­vi­ous. This is an area we hope the forth­com­ing gov­ern­ment Green Pa­per on so­cial care will ad­dress.

While there may be some fixes on their way the re­al­ity is we all need take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our own health ed­u­ca­tion. As the com­mu­nity’s largest provider of so­cial care ser­vices we recog­nise they we can play a role in in­form­ing and ed­u­cat­ing you about health and so­cial care is­sues. That’s why we were so de­lighted when Pro­fes­sor Vic­tor Hoff­brand, of Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don, came to us with the idea of this se­ries of events.

He has helped us se­cure lead­ers in their field and this along with spon­sor­ship from the Rostree’s Trust and a part­ner­ship with the JC has helped hun­dreds of mem­bers of the com­mu­nity through the daunt­ing mine­field of health and so­cial care.

We are com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion evenings on a range of health and so­cial care re­lated is­sues and hope to bring news of these to you in fu­ture is­sues of the JC

Si­mon Mor­ris is chief ex­ec­u­tive of Jewish Care

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