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Fantastic to hear Cumbria Healthier Communities Partnership Chair Hazel Blears on the LBC Iain Dale show re-affirming the need for proactive health and outlining the great steps we are making in the workplace.  Listen to the full piece here.

Video Transcript below

10 to 9 on LBC, Harriet Baldwin is here, Sarah Olney, Hazel Blears and Charles Moore, taking your calls.

I’ve got a text question now, from June in Barnsley.

“Doctors are saying 16 million people could be left without a local GP in 10 years. The NHS is crumbling, but it keeps getting more and more funding. So why is it going so wrong?”

Hazel Blears, your moment has come.

It is really, really struggling at the moment, and I think it’s a simple diagnosis. I dare say, I think we need to move from treatment to prevention, and I say that as a former public health minister. When I was absolutely trying to change this system on more GPs, more funding for money.

The really important thing is that we try and give people some control over their own health because you know your body better often than professionals necessarily will do. But at the moment, people have very little tools really to tackle some of this.

So if we want to prevent ill health, we need to get ahead of the curve and not simply wait for the treatment down the line. That means people need to know what is going wrong with them. You know whether it’s mental health, physical health, the problems around obesity, excess alcohol consumption, all of these things.

Up in Cumbria now, I think we’ve got a revolutionary blueprint for how we shift this system into prevention.

We’ve got an organisation Circular 1 Health, we’re working with BAE Systems who’ve got a 50 year pipeline for the nuclear submarines. They need their workers to be healthy and fit and productive.

So they’re working with us. We’re doing screening to look a blood pressure cardiovascular to look at lifestyle changes, and it’s not just the screening, it’s providing help for them too, for people to tackle those kind of problems.

Now that is a very different model to simply going to the GP. When you can’t get an appointment, you can’t get treatment or your waiting for an operation.

It’s empowering people to take control over their own health and for businesses not just for BAE but for lots of businesses, they want their workers to be productive, so there’s a benefit in it for them.

I call it doing good is good business.

You do the right thing and you get some commercial return, you get less sickness, less long term absenteeism.

You know the figures for people on long term sick when talk in the last three months by 352,000 people. That’s more than in the last 30 years.

It looks as if the unemployment figures are coming down, it’s not that people know in work, they’ve gone off on long term sickness, and so much of it is mental health on lifestyle changes.

So unless we get ahead of that curve, start helping people to cope with this themselves with some professional help, all we’ll be doing is funnelling more money just  as June said. Into a system that isn’t working on people having to wait for treatment all the time, getting worse and worse and getting more expensive to treat because the longer you let it go on, you’ve then got to have acute and critical care, and that’s hugely expensive.