Working as an Alliance across North West Surrey we continuously strive toward greater integration and collaboration of health, care, and wellbeing services for the benefit of our local community.
We recently held our first large-scale Community Day at the RHS Garden Wisley. The incredible setting intentionally set the tone for the type of environments we need around us to nurture our health and wellbeing. We even managed to bring a welcome burst of Spring sunshine to proceedings as over 200 people living, working, running businesses, supporting vulnerable people and raising families in our communities joined us.
This was an opportunity to showcase everything from local recruitment opportunities to the progress we’re making joining up the delivery of health, care and wider wellbeing services. That included hearing about people like, Avis who has regained her confidence after a series of falls following support from our Urgent Community Response Team who helped her to remain independent in her own home.
We also shared our work with borough councils, without whom it wouldn’t be possible to offer initiatives like our Step Down Service. This is supported accommodation for people who are medically fit but need additional help on discharge from hospital. For local residents Wendy and Darren this made all the difference.
By harnessing digital innovation, we’re also helping staff like healthcare assistant, Helen to enjoy collaborating with colleagues across acute, community and primary care to run our dermatology photohub. This service uses the latest technology and artificial intelligence to speed up diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
As well sharing our progress, it was a chance for local people to tell us what it feels like to be on the receiving end of our work. The energy and positive feedback on the day was hugely motivating but what really struck me was just how active our residents want to be in improving their own health and wellbeing.
Empowering people to take agency in this is the foundation of our work to develop neighbourhood teams. This follows recommendations from The Fuller Stocktake and our Critical 5 priorities, and means introducing multi-disciplinary teams to serve the needs of a defined footprint – with easy access to preventative support and tailored care when it’s needed.
Listening to the experiences of people from our communities and understanding their ideas for what a healthy and happy neighbourhood looks like opened up a different kind of dialogue about how we can influence the wider determinants of health. Considering transport and access, digital inequality, making it easier to navigate different services and liberating our community assets so they can take forward their own wellbeing initiatives, is all part of growing the neighbourhoods our residents want.
This is just the beginning of our work to involve people in our communities, the voluntary and charity sector to build cohesive services and cultivate environments where our residents can thrive.
Place Leader / Alliance Chief Officer