Birmingham City Council are seeking views on current lifestyle services from the people who use them or link in with them – and you’ve got until
this Sunday, 2nd March Monday 31st March* to have your say.
Lifestyle services include our very own Health Trainers and Lighten Up, but also services like Be Active, Health Checks and Stop Smoking Services. The council wants to hear what works well and how they could improve services in the future. As the Be Heard website explains, they think a more integrated approach may be the way forward:
The traditional approach to improving lifestyles in the City has been to focus on individual service areas that do not necessarily complement each other. This has led to specific programmes for stopping smoking, healthy weight and others. In the more deprived areas of Birmingham many of these programmes and services target the same groups(s) of people (e.g. a person that is quitting smoking may also benefit from physical activity or weight management services). Moving towards an integrated approach that helps people tackle different issues may help ensure services are more easily accessible.
We agree that it makes sense for services to work together in a more joined-up way. It would be good for clients to have a single point of contact to arrange access for all the health and lifestyle services.
Treating the whole person
Health Trainers build up relationships with their clients over time; they have a holistic approach, which is why they signpost people to other services. As we’ve said before on this blog, we often find that a Health Trainer’s encouragement, in a one to one session, can help people to kick-start a “chain” of lifestyle changes. But it would be even better if they didn’t then have to send clients back to their GP to get the referrals they need.
What our clients say
Health Trainer clients Craig, Annette and Maureen all received encouragement from their Health Trainers, together with signposting to other services, which led to some big lifestyle changes. You can hear them talking about their experiences in this audio clip:
Have your say
Whether you’ve used any of the city’s lifestyle services before, or even if you’ve only thought about it, we’d like to encourage you to tell the Council what you think.
And if you feel that Gateway already helps to “simplify the referral pathway”, then do let them know that too!
*The consultation deadline has been extended. Please check the Be Heard website for the latest details.