Necessity, as the old adage says, is the mother of invention. It perhaps applies even more in public health services, where need v.s. resources are held in an increasingly fragile tension. Now that the NHS is at crunch point, what will be necessary for us to do?
About two years ago, a partnership between NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, NHS North Kirklees CCG, and Kirklees Council recognised that inevitable funding cuts, coupled with increasing demands on health services, would lead to an unacceptable situation in the health of its populace. Its provision of self-management and prevention programmes, while being excellent, could only make a small dent in the juggernaut of long-term conditions. Their response was bold and forward-thinking, and has led to the most comprehensive online support available in the UK for people with long-term conditions.
Fast-forward to today and the result is the Self-Care Hub (SCH), known as My Health Tools in Kirklees, which has been available to people in the area for just over two weeks. It’s still early days, and there has been a great response from health professionals and users alike. Already, there has been over 700 visits to the site, with 25% of those being returning visitors and an even spread of men (54%) and women (46%).
It also provides valuable information on what people have assessed as their immediate needs. The challenges and related goals at the top of the list are dominated by mental health and learning how to manage anxiety and stress.The cognitive behavioural therapy techniques used in the SCH are especially suited to these types of health issues and offer an alternative to traditional medical treatments.
Services like the SCH represent what is at the forefront of change within health services. It’s a shift in thinking to ‘keeping people well’ instead of ‘fixing the ill’, with a focus on the whole person, prevention and self-care. It’s common sense if you think about it, but culture is surprisingly hard to change. The harsh reality is that the NHS is in crisis and these changes were needed long ago. But it’s never too late to start, and now maybe we will all be more motivated to do what is necessary.
Click here to visit My Health Tools. For more information please contact Irene Zdziebko at email@example.com or phone 0845 434 8540.