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Wyre rises to health challenge

Published Monday, 12 June 2017

Wyre Council is making excellent progress in improving the health and wellbeing of its communities.

That is the finding of an independent report by the Local Government Association, which conducted a peer challenge to explore how the council is delivering on its priority to improve health and wellbeing in the borough.

Wyre faces a range of challenges such as an ageing population, increasing numbers of people with complex long-term health conditions, rising expectations and increasing costs. In response, Wyre Council has made ‘Healthier Wyre’ a key business plan priority.

The peer team spoke to more than 60 people including a range of council staff, elected members and external partners, and visited venues across the borough to gather views. It found examples of partnership working that are innovative, exceptional and game changing, and described the council as demonstrating a strong commitment to health that is shaping core services. 

Councillor Vivien Taylor (pictured), Health and Community Engagement Portfolio Holder at Wyre Council, said: “This report clearly demonstrates that Wyre is not only making excellent progress towards addressing health challenges in the borough, but also that we are leading a new and forward-thinking approach to collaborative health care in communities.

“Together with our partners, we want to change the way health care is delivered by integrating our services with those of other health providers to offer a seamless and holistic approach to wellbeing. We are particularly focussed on prevention and self-care by encouraging people to make healthy choices and lead active lifestyles.”

Last year the council worked with Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group to co-locate a GP and Extensive Care Service to the Civic Centre in Poulton. It is the first step towards creating a community hub that integrates health care provision with council services to help address the wider determinants of health and wellbeing. Referrals are made to council services including care and repair, disabled adaptations, housing advice, debt advice and volunteering.

Collaborative work on initiatives aimed at early intervention and prevention, including the health hub at the Civic Centre and Healthier Fleetwood, was described in the report as innovative and progressive, reducing demand on front line services and tackling health inequalities. In addition, council employees were found to be dedicated and talented with a positive ‘can do’ culture towards delivering the Healthier Wyre priority.

Four key recommendations that will further benefit Wyre’s work on health are now being considered. These include the development of a long term vision for the borough, identification of key priorities for employees, further strengthening the coordination of partnership activities in Fleetwood and harnessing the council’s strong financial position to support the business plan.

Wyre Council has invested £6m in its leisure centres to vastly improve the facilities and inspire residents to become more active. It maintains 145 hectares of parks and open spaces for public enjoyment and offers a wide range of services that have a positive impact on health and wellbeing, from a borough-wide health walks programme to assistance with home repairs and adaptations which prevent accidents and support older people to remain independent. 

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