The Public Health Agency (PHA) is joining with representatives from across health and social care, education, government, local authorities, academia and community and voluntary organisations to share learning and explore new opportunities in improving people’s health through partnerships working,
The conference, ‘Partnerships for Health – The Future’, at the W5 complex this Thursday (8 December), will share good practice in partnership working from across Northern Ireland and the UK, to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities in Northern Ireland. It will also be an opportunity to update delegates on the new ‘public health strategy’, currently being developed by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). The event will also see Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, DHSSPS, launching his Annual Report, 2010-2011.
‘Strictly Come Partnering’ by David Hunter, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, will consider what is meant by public health partnerships and their role in delivering policy goals, what makes them ‘effective’ or ‘successful’ and the barriers that exist. Drawing on recently completed research, he is critical of much current partnership working and will propose a new approach designed to make partnerships more effective in the future.
Local contributors include Jackie Redpath, discussing partnerships in the Greater Shankill area of Belfast; Dr Lesley Boydell, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust who will explore research and practice and future challenges, from a local council perspective, will be provided by David McCammick, Antrim Borough Council. The conference will close with Dr Michael McBride discussing the new ‘Public Health Strategy’ and Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA, presenting the Association of Health Services Managers Award.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “I am committed to placing public health centre stage and in particular addressing the issue of health inequalities. Health inequalities across the population, is simply not just a matter for government and the Health Department. The onus is on us all to contribute to our own health and wellbeing.
“Health and wellbeing is shaped by many factors but above all by our social and economic environment. Educational attainment, income, employment status, living and working environments, can result in inequitable health outcomes, for example life expectancy, which vary between local areas.
“It is a fact that people living in deprived areas are more likely to live in poor housing, to be unemployed, have lower educational attainment and to suffer ill health and sadly an earlier death.
“The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report, which has been launched today, also highlights the gap in health between the most and least deprived in our society and the need for collaboration in addressing health inequalities.”
Speaking about the conference, Dr Eddie Rooney said: “We are delighted that Professor David Hunter will join our debate on how partnership working can be improved to help us all tackle health inequalities, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is also a great opportunity, through the parallel sessions, to local share good practice in the areas of mental health promotion and suicide prevention; alcohol; reducing poverty, through benefits maximization; obesity and providing evidence for good practice, through evaluation and research.”
“I am particularly pleased that the Chief Medical Officer will join our conference, not only to present the latest thinking on the new public health strategy, but also to launch his Annual Report,
There will be over 200 delegates from many sectors at the conference. This reflects the importance of partnership working, particularly in the current economic climate where sharing resources, skills and knowledge will support greater equality and better health and wellbeing outcomes across Northern Ireland.
Contact the PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611
Notes to the editor
- This conference builds on the work and highlights progress from the month of ‘Focus on Health inequality’ activity, last November.