Sunday, 12 February 2012

Let's Talk About Health and Well-Being in Reading

A consultation to gather local views on the things that affect people's health and well-being in Reading has begun. A series of public meetings will be held across the town and there is a questionnaire for people to fill in on-line and hard copy.


Let's Talk Health is part of the Council's 'Working Better With You' initiative, and will involve asking local residents to complete a questionnaire and attend discussion events across the town to identify how public health services can be more responsive to local needs. Among the questions being posed are:
  •  How well do local services support you to improve your health by losing weight, stopping smoking, preventing drug or alcohol abuse, improving your diet etc?
  •  What are the things that are most important to the health and well-being of you and your family (eg affordable fitness sessions, access to parks and open spaces, parenting advice, transport services etc) and how could these be improved?
  • How good or bad are local services like GPs, dentists, local hospitals, pharmacies, mental health etc?
The Council will use the results to shape its work, with other health partners, to ensure that the services that help people to lead healthy and long lives are working as effectively as possible.

As well as providing on-line and paper questionnaires, which will be available at libraries, leisure centres and other council buildings, as well as GP surgeries, dentists and local hospitals, Let's Talk Health will involve a series of public events aimed at getting people together to discuss public health services in the context of their local communities. There will also be a special 'select committee-type' event in which the public and health professionals will have an opportunity to talk about key health and well-being issues.

Councillor Bet Tickner, Lead Councillor for Public Engagement and Health said: 'Let's Talk Health will do exactly what it says on the tin. We want to get local people talking about public health services - what's good, what's not so good, and what we need to do more of to help people to lead long, healthy and happy lives. 

'It's important for the Council, and its partners in the NHS, to know people's views now that big changes to the way the NHS is run are being discussed in parliament and may soon become law. "I would like to encourage everyone in Reading to have their say. This is your chance to help us to help you by ensuring we are concentrating on the things that matter most to local people.'

Councillor Jan Gavin, Lead Councillor for Service Delivery and Improvement said: 'Local councillors are being given a new, wider role, working with the NHS and other health professionals, to protect and improve public health. 'GPs and hospitals will still be responsible for delivering front-line healthcare, but we want to ensure that all the other services that contribute to healthy lifestyles  from counselling to cancer-screening - are working as effectively as possible.

'The questionnaire has been designed to be quick and easy to complete and it would be great if as many local residents as possible were able to take a few minutes to give us their views, either on-line or by completing the hard-copy version. The information we gather from Let's Talk Health will influence our work in this important area now and in the future.'

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