During the past two years since I became chairman of the public health committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, as well as chairman of the Nottinghamshire health and wellbeing board, I have spoken to health professionals the length and breadth of Nottinghamshire about the state of the county’s health services and provision.
There are a number of issues that I am particularly keen to champion and I hope during my tenure on the public health committee that I can progress many of them.
Having worked in mental services for many years, one of the topics that I am passionate about is health services, particularly mental health services, for young people.
I recently chaired a young people’s health event in Mansfield where we heard feedback from more than 1,000 young people aged 10 – 25 who had filled in an online health survey. The survey aimed to show what services are important to this age group and what topics are most frequently discussed.
The event was attended by 45 representatives from across the county who wanted their views aired on such issues as confidentiality, safeguarding, developing good relationships, exercise and healthy eating and access to health services.
It’s clear that young people feel that they receive sufficient information on a range of subjects but are lacking awareness and knowledge on the subject of mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
This is an area that I hope to champion over the coming months and to measure what strides we’ve made with the young people themselves.
There is also a need for an online information service where the under 25s can get answers to health queries, quickly and easily.
It is important that services are young people friendly and that they feel confident about visiting the GP, school nurse, chemist or pharmacist.
I feel strongly that young people should have a voice in shaping health services and they should always feel welcomed, valued and respected whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality.
I am absolutely delighted that so many young people took the time to give their views on health services and I’m confident the results will help shape the strategy going forward.