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Primary care blog: A glorious new era for community care

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RCN primary care guru and Nursing Times blogger Lynn Young on the why recent policy announcements herald a bright future community care - and the health of the nation

My great wish is for the DH Transforming Community Services grand event held on the 13th January 2009 to go down in history as a significant date for NHS community health services.

300 people working in various parts of England’s community health and social care services gathered together at a rather pleasant venue in London to hear Lord Darzi - wait for it - proclaim that as a London teaching hospital surgeon he was delighted to call for the major part of NHS funding to be spent in the community.

Good grief, I have never believed that I would hear such a worthy ambition in my working life, but said it he did, only for this to be repeated by Mark Britnell, DH Head of commissioning and systems, and once again by Dame Christine Beasley, CNO for England.

For anyone who wishes to see me retire from the RCN, my apologies for I am not ready to become active in the Womens’ Institute or become skilled in the elegant art of jam making just yet.

Transforming Community Services is a health reform which I cannot possibly resist, so I shall be hanging around the world of work for some time to come.

There is so much to do, but the DH is clear and courageous on this issue - we must put our efforts into preventing disease rather then putting 80% of the NHS budget into treating people who are ill.

It is high time we stopped the inevitable diseases of modern life style, that of couch potato physical idleness, fat, sugar and salt-guzzling in copious amounts and drinking alcohol and smoking baccy to excess.

Yes, I am a bit of a health fascist, but only because it is heartbreaking to witness the misery brought about by unhealthy living and abuse of one's precious body.

Public health and the reduction of ghastly health inequalities have arrived with rigour and vigour - hurrah!

I long to see a community-centred NHS. If we keep our nerve, cooperate, and work in close harmony with the numerous stakeholders connected to citizenship and community health, we have a chance of halting the escalating figures of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Obesity and fat are out, slim and even a healthy plumpness are in. Sadly achievement so far seems to have reached the prosperous middle class and left the poor and socially deprived out.

Where there is poor health and premature death there is suffering and misery, so it is in everyone’s interest to work hard, making certain that the Transforming Community Services Programme becomes as successful as it possibly can be.

It is ironic though - life is never simple or convenient - that at the same time that the Government is truly committed to achieving radically improved public health, we are badly hit with economic slump and rising levels of unemployment.

As for me, I am not prepared to miss this golden opportunity of working towards the building of a nation of people who live well and enjoy abundant health.

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