BJSM Social Media Contributes to Health Policy Re-Think: A success story in Hertfordshire

By Christine Neyndorff and Dr. Richard Weiler

There was an unprecedented response following our last BJSM blog to the draft consultation for the Hertfordshire Health & Wellbeing Board strategy for the coming years.

The remarkable response following this BJSM blog deserves an update (thanks Ed.). We also wanted to thank everyone for their contributions.

The original draft strategy for health and wellbeing included 8 priorities – increasing levels of physical activity was not one of them.

98.4% of BJSM online poll voters felt that Hertfordshire should tackle the problem of physical inactivity as a top priority for health and wellbeing.

The formal draft consultation response feedback:

  • 2747 responses were received (we are told this demonstrates an unprecedented level of interest)
    • 165 responses received from groups or organisations
    • 2582 from individuals

The majority of responses felt that there should be greater reference to healthy lifestyle. In particular, most of these recommended that physical activity be included as its own priority.

“Promoting physical activity for all ages should be a priority” East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

“Increasing levels of physical activity has many benefits, and can contribute to several of the proposed priorities…District and Borough Councils have a major role in providing and promoting physical activities, and could make a big contribution to delivery of a priority centred on this issue” Broxbourne Borough Council.

In addition to the written consultation there was also considerable debate on twitter about Hertfordshire’s public health strategy.

Moving forward…the draft strategy is being revised taking this feedback into account.  We understand the Health & Wellbeing board is considering including the following priority in the revised strategy,  “Increasing physical activity and promoting a healthy weight.” 

[Despite 83% of BMJ readers believing that the public health evidence still supports cardiorespiratory fitness gained through physical activity over weight loss (see poll results here), we would be very satisfied with this inclusion demonstrating evidence based progress in recognition of the importance of physical activity in health and wellbeing.]

The final draft of the strategy will be considered by the Shadow Health & Wellbeing board in January 2013.

It is vital that this joint priority remains included and further correspondence may help to achieve this.

Please consider sending any supporting comments to Fiona Deans who will be able to collate them and forward them to the County Council.

Email: f.deans@herts.ac.uk

 

Thanks again for you ongoing support,

Christine Neyndorff,  Director of HSP and Dr. Richard Weiler, “HSP Physical Activity Ambassador”

The Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership, known as HSP, was established in 2003 and our vision has remained simple and constant “Working together to encourage more people to be more active more often” . 

HSP is a voluntary organisation with a strategic board including representatives of local agencies and partners committed to working together to increase participation in sport and physical activity and promote the many benefits. The Board is supported by a small team of staff providing leadership and co-ordination to work more effectively together at county level.

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