WIGAN has been held up as an example to the rest of the country by one of the nation’s top health professionals.
Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said the work done between all the health agencies in the borough is a leading example to the rest of the country.
Following a visit to the borough Ms Cramer posted an article on her blog in which she heaped praise upon everybody involved in healthcare in Wigan and praised Wigan’s fore crews.
It comes following a successful period for public health in the borough in which Wigan Council has worked alongside all health trusts as well as other partners including the emergency services to improve health outcomes in the borough.
Ms Cramer spent a day with Wigan’s director of public health, Professor Kate Ardern (pictured).
Ms Cramer said: “Kate is a real change agent with an ambitious vision for improving the health of the population of Wigan. One reason for my visit was to see the approach of Kate and her team in mainstreaming public health.
“As I discovered, this is done by influencing others to not only engage with public health but also to ‘own it.’
“This was made really clear when I met with the charismatic Steve Sheridan, borough commander of the fire service in Wigan and a proponent for his service’s role in public health.
“Steve and his 170 fire fighters have taken the RSPH qualification ‘Understanding Health Improvement’ and other relevant courses and have devised innovative ways of providing health messages, signposting and support.
“With more than 7,000 fire safety home visits a year, regular visits to schools, care homes and sports facilities , they are in a great position to have access to and work with, those most in need.”
The news has delighted Prof Ardern, pictured, added: “It is fantastic to see the borough being recognised nationally for the amazing work by everybody involved.
“Everybody in Wigan has bought into the idea of integrated healthcare and I cannot do this alone.
“I am one person but if the council, the emergency services and the many other people responsible for the population of Wigan did not sing off the same hymn sheet, nothing would happen.
We have a long way to go and while we have improved health outcomes dramatically we want to focus on narrowing the gap between our most deprived and wealthiest areas.
“Wigan has historically been one of the poorest areas in terms of healthcare but we are on the right track to turning this round and we want to achieve more.”