Just what the doctor ordered: Ground-breaking Oldham health check extends to mental health

Oldham is setting out a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of residents through the launch of the ground-breaking Oldham Health Check.

Councillor Zahid Chauhan, a leading local GP and Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, is explaining the plans – thought to be the first nationwide to specifically target more vulnerable groups such as the homeless and veterans – to an audience of health and social care professionals today (June 13).

The initiative aims to build on the existing free national NHS Health Checks, which see GPs inviting people aged 40-74 without a pre-existing condition for checks to identify their risk of developing a heart or circulation problem in the next decade, plus tailored advice and management plans.

Oldham now wants to extend its offer much further through a new Oldham Health Check from April 1,2020.

This will have a targeted approach to our more vulnerable residents and, for the first time, it will not only test for cardio-vascular issues but will also seek to detect and address mental health issues with patients: identifying if they are feeling down, depressed or isolated, and taking action.

Cllr Chauhan said: “The NHS Health Checks were an important milestone in public health nationally – now we want to take that approach even further in Oldham.”

“We know our population well and have pride in our duty to taking a proactive approach in tackling unacceptable health inequalities and deprivation.

“In an increasingly diverse, fragile and disconnected society we must be agile and innovative in how we create a holistic service that better reflects the changing health and social care needs of each part of our borough.

“From 2020 the Oldham Health Check will work with primary care providers targeting local residents most at risk, and delivering better and earlier interventions.

“The addition of mental health as an equal priority is key to this. We know that around 10 per cent of our residents self-identify as being lonely, so the new Oldham Health Check will seek to identify those affected and help them with a community-led approach, including social prescribing.

“This is part of our significant commitment to mental health in Oldham which has seen us invest in a wide range of initiatives to provide lifelong support with partners across the borough.

“Our intention here is clear. We believe that anyone in Oldham – with the right support to combat mental health issues like anxiety, social isolation and depression – can lead the life they want and deserve to live, and we’re determined to do all that we can to make that happen.”

Across Oldham improvement and change in health and social care is being delivered through Oldham Cares: a one system approach bringing together Oldham Council, NHS Oldham CCG, general practitioners and other health and social care providers and the Voluntary, Community, Social, Faith and Enterprise sector with each sharing their skills, experience, talent and resources.

Dr Carolyn Wilkins, Chief Executive, Oldham Council and Accountable Officer, NHS Oldham CCG, said: “The Oldham Health Check can be a step change for residents’ health and wellbeing prospects.”

“This is a key part of our whole system approach to delivering better experiences and outcomes.

“Each area of Oldham already has its own geographical health and social care cluster with partners from all sectors working side by side in an unprecedented manner tailoring a working model that reflects needs in that specific area

“The Oldham Health Check aims to get higher numbers of appropriate patients put onto care pathways for diagnosed conditions through better and earlier interventions, and deliver significant increases in referrals to lifestyle or other support services, including social prescribing, for people experiencing mental health issues.

“By working with primary care providers we can proactively target and invite those people who are most at risk to attend a check in the next five years which can be hugely beneficial for the homeless, veterans and other vulnerable groups.

“We’re supporting this commitment to quality and better outcomes by structuring our health check payments to reflect the various levels of intervention offered, and linking them to recorded patient outcome data and appropriate onward referrals. This will enable us to continually track, monitor and improve results – and make changes to improve the service

“The Oldham Health Check will help us take local provision to a new level – empowering more residents than ever before to make better choices that will measurably help them to improve their health and wellbeing.”

If you would like more information on how to receive a health check visit:

 

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