A Brave New World – Public Health Intelligence Team Away Day: The future.


A note before starting – this will not be going too far in the depth into the meeting as not all discussed was for public consumption. It will be a general overview really.

 Today was my team away day. Not the library (there’s only 2.28 of us) but the Public Health Intelligence Team (or Service) that the library sits within. Its not a large team by Public Health standards: 6 of us in principal with the 2 extra library bodies in total. This was the first one I had been to, and speaking to my PHIT colleagues we all shared a unease with the future (some didn’t want to even think about it) and I was told about the horror stories of the past ones! The purpose of the away day was to see how the proposed Transforming Community Services changes are being implemented now all the major decisions have been made. It looked at how that will affect us both in practice and principal, and to look at the major issues we, as a team will have to overcome.

 As mentioned this is not a library team – I am the only ‘Library’ member of the team, the rest comprising of the team lead – and all our line manager – Head of Public Health Intelligence, 4 Public Health Intelligence Specialists and myself – Library Manager. Examples of the work can be found here. I find it very useful as they are information professionals from a very different angle, and on a daily basis produce high quality work with this. In cannot speak highly enough about the work they do. Due to scheduling issues the first item on the agenda was the upcoming data issues. The impending move across to the Local Authority, means a move away from the security of the N3 network, which nationwide, may mean a lot of Public Health staff and departments will no longer have the information/evidence/raw materials that informs health policy and commissioning decision-making. I find it astounding the level and type of data they use and the areas this information came from, and who used it.

 The next item on the agenda was the future of ‘Public Health’ in Bolton and the imminent creation of the Health and Wellbeing Board in Bolton. At this time I can’t go into much detail, though suffice to say, it is going to be ‘interesting times’ for all involved!

 Next up was a look at the future developments of the JSNA (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment) and how this is going to affect and influence our future work streams in both the short and medium term future, This was really interesting and useful as it tells us what is forthcoming both in new/expanded topics such as autism and dementia, but also the developments in the current work (and how I will help this work). This is an ever evolving piece of work and my role, in both produce literature reviews and in the management of the data hub will be to inform those who produce the work.

 The JSNA discussion then grew into discussion about the currently in consultation NHS, Public Health and Social Care Outcome Frameworks. These are what will the JSNA will is based upon and it will be the remit of the Health and Wellbeing Board to ensure are met as per the Health and Social Care Bill. The 3 outcome frameworks cover a vast amount of outcomes – all with differing levels of difficulty in monitoring and recording. The general consensus was that they will change before they are officially published due to these issues. Data issues the session started with were also re-brought up here as specific outcomes require specific data which may no longer be accessible. But anyone who has read An Information Revolution would have known about these issues!

 The mooted data-hub was up next, and this was my first real opportunity to lead discussion. My Line Manager, whose idea it was, and is leading the project-team, brought about the history and where the idea is being developed. Myself – along with another project member brought the rest of team up to date with what has been done so far, what we want to achieve (with no financial support) and what is required of them.  Everyone seemed keen on the idea and the concept, and saw its purpose and usefulness. My role – as well as designing it, will be the management of it once it is up and running. Expect to read a lot more about this project!

 Lunch next. Giant ham and tomato butties. Sweet.

 Because of the speed and positive nature of the day so far we only had 2 items left – the library and the SWOT analysis. First up… the library.

It was all about the development of the library to meet the new needs and environment it is facing. Since taking over I have been pushing the library more and more into the general primary care field and beyond (whilst keeping our public health/health promotion grounding). We discussed the ramifications of Transforming Community Services and the Health and Social Care Bill will impact the library both in the short, medium and long term (and how better it would have been if the changes that I’ve made were made sooner…). Being sat in Public Health as a primary care library is by no means the worst place to be located – many of my fellow PCT Librarians are facing merger with the local acute libraries (eep) or worse dissolution. I’ve been looking into the possibility of a library ‘re-launch’ for a while, because I do not believe a sizable portion of our users view us as the collection of services and functions we provide them, and rather than seeing the next few months as a difficulty to be overcome, I believe we have opportunities for growth and new markets we have never had the network to grasp, before, allowing for expansion  and strengthening of what we offer and are. I have a clear view of what the ‘library’ is and what we can do. This will, I believe require a re-brand. My idea for this (a post for another day) went down very well, with all agreeing that it was the best way forward. A comical idea – to ‘lie still and think of England’ was also well received as I think we’re aware that anyone who is just hanging around waiting for the change to come to them is frankly fucked.

 The day ended with the traditional SWOT analysis. Considering the feared brevity of the away day this was very positive. A Good way to end session as it took in all changes that are happening – from the GP consortia board elections (they want a Public Health presence – huzzah), to the commissioning outlook in Bolton as well as events happening further afield – both in commissioning and in the wider Public Health intelligence network. This was so very useful – unlike most group SWOT analysis!

 Overall it was a good (half) day that was everyone contributed to with good humour. It showed we all are aware of what is happening and are all actively pushing in the same direction. Without the need for team building exercises, it showed, in a very real sense we are a ‘Team’ and we are kind of know where we’re heading in this brave new world.

Core Documents

There were several internal documents that asre not available for general dissemenation just yet.

Let me know what you think!


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