News in brief: West Yorkshire Inclusivity Champion, new diagnostic centre for East Essex, antenatal care partnership and more

West Yorkshire welcomes first Inclusivity Champion

As part of the Mayor’s ambitions to achieve greater equality across the region, Fatima Khan-Shah has been appointed West Yorkshire’s first ever Inclusivity Champion. The role will involve working closely with regional leaders to provide expert advice on inclusion, and addressing social, economic and health disparities. The role will work across the Mayor’s Office and West Yorkshire Combined Authority as well as the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. 

Fatima is highly experienced in advising on legislation and government policy on key issues such as diversity, personalised care, long term health conditions and carer support. In her current role as Associate Director at the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, Fatima is an advocate for compassionate leadership, public and carer involvement and diversity and inclusion. Outside of her NHS role, she is a frequent blogger and podcaster — focussing on equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as the importance of authentic leadership.

Fatima said of her new role:As a proud British Asian Muslim woman, I am so excited to be starting this important position which harnesses the potential of working collaboratively across health and local government to address inequality.”

Norfolk and Waveney introduce Wellness on Wheels health checks

Health and care providers in Norfolk and Waveney have been gearing up to roll out health checks on the WOW (Wellness on Wheels) bus. The bus has been traveling across Norfolk and Waveney offering COVID-19 vaccinations as well as screening, advice, and support.

WOW buses also offer health check-up for adults in England aged 40 to 74, designed to identify early signs of kidney disease, stroke, heart disease, dementia and type 2 diabetes.

The WOW bus is supported by partner organisations across the ICS, including NHS Norfolk and Waveney, Norfolk County Council, the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector and others.

The bus is said to pay particular focus on supporting people from under-served communities, including: sex workers, vulnerable migrants and people with no access to public funds, gyspy, Roma and travelling communities, people experiencing homelessness and deprived communities.

East Sussex opens new diagnostic centre

Bexhill Community Diagnostic Centre, designed to improve access to vital tests, checks and scans with the aim of facilitating faster assessments and diagnosis, has formally opened in East Sussex.

The centre will be open five days a week, with a view to expand its hours to include evening and weekends starting this month. Diagnostic services available include cardiac diagnostics, echo-ECGs, x-rays, ultrasound, lung function and phlebotomy, as well as MRI and CT scans on a rotational basis.

Joe Chadwick-Bell, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said of the centre: “Staff from the trust and the wider NHS worked closely with colleagues in the local authority and our builders to create this fantastic new facility […] It will make a real difference to how patients in East Sussex receive their care.”

Improving antenatal care through partnership

As part of their April Advocacy month, South East London Integrated Care System (SEL ICS) Perinatal Pelvic Health Service has partnered with local organisation Fivexmore, to collaborate on a social media campaign to promote self-advocacy and systems advocacy across the region. Fivexmore is a grassroots organisation dedicated to improving black women and birthing people’s maternal health outcomes in the UK.

The campaign is in line with the South East Local Maternity and Neonatal System equality and equity engagement plan, recognising the inequities in the outcomes and provision of maternity care, with a noted stark disparity in maternity outcomes and the provision of care for less socially advantaged groups, including black, Asian and ethnic minorities, people with protected characteristics and those living in deprivation.

Increasing equity across the system is an integral goal of the South East Local Maternity and Neonatal System; the soon-to-be released ICS equality and equity action plan will stipulate the key deliverables from NHS England guidance and local needs, alongside the actions they will take to address these issues.

Surrey Heartlands voluntary and community sector receives boost in funding

25 local organisations across the Surrey Heartlands voluntary and community sector have been awarded grants of up to £10,000 from East Surrey Place to further advance their provision of health and wellbeing support.

In February 2022, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council was asked to set up a Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) grant fund – managing £134,000 from ESP to support the delivery of the Prevention and Communities Programme across East Surrey.

The programme is designed to enable people across East Surrey to improve their own health and wellbeing, whilst also working together to prevent illnesses and cultivate an environment for them to stay healthy.

Amongst the 25 organisations receiving the grants were the Brigitte Trust, who provide a befriending service for adults with a life-threatening diagnosis, I Choose Freedom – a support group for survivors of domestic abuse – and Sight for Surrey, whose grant will contribute to the salary costs of an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at East Surrey Hospital.