Richard Watson explained that Professor Whitty, Chief Scientific
Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care, has
undertaken a series of visits across the country, the purpose of
which was to better understand how research and investment can
benefit seaside towns and rural communities.
Professor Whitty’s visit to Hastings was led by Darrell
Gale, Director of Public Health for East Sussex. The day involved
taking Professor Whitty on a tour of the town. The visit started
with background information on health needs in Hastings,
demonstrating that the town has some of the poorest health outcomes
Professor Whitty and his team also visited the launch of the
Hastings Opportunity Area Attendance Charter, recognising the wider
determinants of health such as educational attainment and housing.
This involved some thought provoking presentations from the police
and East Sussex County Council.
This was followed by a walking tour taking in Sea View, Citizens
Advice and Ore Community Centre. Later in the day Professor Whitty
took part in a question and answer session with a panel of experts
predominately from the voluntary and community sector.
number of themes came out of the day. Professor Whitty’s view
was that the Department for Health and Social Care will want to
support investment in research which demonstrates what works well
and what doesn’t work well in terms of improving health
Locally there is a need to undertake research that demonstrates
which employment, housing and education schemes are having a
positive impact on health outcomes.
Richard informed the group that Darrell Gale will be meeting
with Professor Whitty and other regional Directors of Public Health
in the near future. Meetings will be taking place with the Borough
and County Council in October to reflect on what was learnt from
the visit and how to move forward.
Richard noted that the visit specifically didn’t involve
taking Professor Whitty to General Practice or the Conquest
Hospital in order to focus on the wider determinants of health
Steve Manwaring commented that
Hastings has been the subject of an enormous number of programmes
and preventions over recent years, but there hasn’t been any
evaluation and learning. Additionally, the closure of the
university campus has resulted in a loss of knowledge sharing
between the voluntary community and the academic sector.
Steve noted that the visit did highlight some of the problems
the voluntary sector faces in undertaking research and developing
methodology. It is important that this comes back to the LSP on a
terms of next steps, Richard advised that Chris would be meeting
with other public health directors in the UK in the next couple of
months to reflect on his findings.
Annie noted that whilst it was positive that Chris’s visit
focused on the voluntary and community sector and the activities
they are delivering to address health inequalities; it would have
been extremely useful if information could have been shared with
partners at the earliest opportunity. She added, it is important to
treat the sector as equal partners and ensure they are provided
with the same level of information as is shared with statutory
response to a question regarding the impact of the visits on
national funding Richard Watson explained that at this stage it is
not clear what the impact will be on Government
Members of the group discussed the potential merger of local
CCG’s and how this might impact the voluntary and community
The Chair noted that it would be appropriate for the LSP to look
at some of the governance documents for a combined CCG as they
emerge in order to shape future health outcomes.