York’s mental health strategy launched

York’s Health and Wellbeing Board has launched its new mental health strategy with a focus on every single resident enjoying the best possible emotional and mental health and wellbeing throughout the course of their life.

A newly formed mental health partnership will lead and co-ordinate the delivery of the strategy. The new partnership will be chaired by Tim Madgwick, who retired as Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police last year.

The strategy highlights that people with mental health conditions have a lower life expectancy and poorer physical health outcomes than those that do not.

The main focus of the strategy is to get better at spotting the early signs of mental ill health and to intervene earlier. It also looks at increasing individual and community resilience to reduce social isolation.

The other priorities are to:

  • focus on recovery and rehabilitation
  • improve services for mothers, children and young people
  • ensure that York becomes a suicide safer city
  • ensure that York is both a mental health and dementia friendly environment
  • improve services for those with learning disabilities.

The strategy expands on the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018-2023, of which mental health is a key priority.

Get from the sofa to the saddle with this latest course


City of York Council is inviting residents looking to get back in the saddle to its latest course.

Following the success of its Walk 2 Jog course, the council’s YorWellbeing service is launching the Sofa to Saddle course, a new eight week course to get residents back into cycling again and gaining the confidence they need to cycle independently.

It will be starting on Thursday 5 April at 6.30pm at York Sport. The first two sessions will be based at the track to build confidence and to allow people get to know their bike again and feel comfortable.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, executive member for leisure, culture and tourism said: “Following the success of our Walk2Jog courses it’s great to see a new course launched to get people cycling.

“Cycling can be a great way to get out and enjoy York’s amazing scenery as well as help people to get their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This course looks to build confidence among people and by the end will hopefully see them confidently cycling around York.”

The course will cost £20, participants will receive a free t-shirt at the end and are advised to bring their own bike.

Places are limited, for more information to book a place contact the YorWellbeing team on 01904 553377 or email yorwellbeing@york.gov.uk .

Hidden disease in the spot light in York: more about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.)

M.E awareness: Liberal Democrats look to kick-start campaign on the hidden disease

In a motion to Council on the 22nd March, Liberal Democrat Councillors are looking to kick-start a campaign to raise awareness on the often overlooked and hidden disease; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as M.E.

M.E. is a chronic, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems to an estimated 800 people in York, 250,000 people in the UK and around 17 million people worldwide.  Many who suffer from the disease often report that diagnosis can take months, or even years, and that there is a lack of awareness amongst the majority of clinicians.

M.E remains largely out of the public conscience and therefore, is often referred to as a ‘hidden’ disease.  In response, the York Liberal Democrats are calling on the Council to initiate a public awareness campaign in the build up to M.E Awareness Day on the 12th May.  This will include:

  • Using the ‘city lights’ to light up landmarks such as the City Walls and West Offices on International M.E Awareness Day.
  • To initiate a communications campaign, utilising the Council’s distribution and communication networks to generate awareness of M.E in York, allowing York to lead a national debate on the subject.
  • Providing training to senior Council representatives, in order to increase understanding of the disease at the heart of the Council.

Cllr Keith Aspden (left), Bill Clayton (centre) and Cllr Carol Runciman (right).

Councillor Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said:

“Living with ME is challenging. People may struggle with debilitating symptoms and other problems, but it is important to remember that support is out there and this is crucial in dealing with any illness. By raising awareness, we can spread this message and better our understanding of the disease.”

“In York, we are lucky to have the York M.E Community and the Yorkshire Fatigue Clinic, who both provide excellent support to those suffering from the disease in York.  We must build on the work they do and promote what they can do to help.”

Bill Clayton, founder of the York ME Community, added:

“M.E is something that is likely to be affecting someone you know, without you realising it.  It could be someone missing from work, school, or even the football team.  We don’t see them, as most are often bedbound and hidden from society.

“There are millions missing from their lives due to this devastating illness and I would like to thank the York Liberal Democrats for backing this drive to raise M.E Awareness.  This illness isn’t political however, and so I plead with all parties to back this campaign and help your community, The York ME Community.”

Today is national “no smoking day”

I couldn’t do it without coming for support’ – Council backs national no smoking day and asks people wanting to kick the habit to get in

City of York Council is supporting national no smoking day on Wednesday 14 March and reminding residents that support is available for those who want to kick the habit.

Smoking kills 79,000 people every year1 and one person is admitted to hospital in England every minute with a smoking-related illness. The council’s YorWellbeing service, which looks to help residents improve their health and wellbeing, can offer advice and support to help change smoking behaviours, as well as advise which medications to buy to help you quit, if necessary.

Susan, a 49 year old medical secretary from Strensall stopped smoking 20 cigarettes a day twenty months ago after being a serious smoker for over 34 years.  She tried her first cigarette at 7 and first packet at 11, starting smoking properly at 14.

She came to the council for support to help her quit “I couldn’t have done it without coming for support.  There is so much to say and talk about when you’re changing a life time habit, and support and being heard was a big part of that.” Her two previous attempts to stop before then hadn’t lasted longer than two months.

Susan was diagnosed with health problems related to her smoking three years ago and despite these ongoing health worries causing stress, is still determined not to smoke.

After quitting Susan has noticed health improvements already.

“I have better skin, my voice is less deep and I am sleeping well and breathing better.  My asthma has improved so much that I don’t worry about having to climb the stairs any more.

“This time round I feel I am in a different place.”

No smoking day comes after last month the council’s YorWellbeing service announced that Heworth Rugby Club and York RI New Lane community sports club became the city’s first smoke free sports clubs.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for health and adult social care said: “You are three times more likely to quit with help and support3. Anyone wanting to quit can contact our team where they will get advice and support from our YorWellbeing advisers to help.

“Quitting smoking is among the best things that you can do for your health. The health improvements seen from Susan are just one example of how kicking the habit can make a real difference.”

Those wanting to quit smoking can get in touch with our YorWellbeing service. As well as help to quit the team can offer advice and support to help residents to live happier healthier lives.

For more information contact the YorWellbeing service on yorwellbeing@york.gov.uk  or 01904 553377 or visit www.york.gov.uk/yorwellbeing for details of the support available.

Inspection report boost for York Hospital

Services at York Hospital ‘most improved’ after recent CQC inspection

York Hospital has seen its service rating upgraded to ‘Good’ after a recent a team of CQC inspectors visited York, Scarborough, and Bridlington Hospitals to check on the quality of core services.

Previously, The York Hospital was adjudged to ‘Require Improvement’ by the CQC and over Winter period, was adversely affected by the Winter crisis. In response, the Liberal Democrats made significant investments in York’s Adult Social Care system, through the 2018/19 Council Budget, to alleviate pressure on The York Hospital and reduce York’s Delayed Transfers of Care.

The York Hospital has now been found to be the most improved hospital in the York Teaching Hospital Trust and more specifically, has improved considerably in responding to the needs of people in York.

The York Teaching Hospital Trust as a whole, still ‘Requires Improvement’ and more work is needed to achieve widespread progress and maintain improvements.  The Liberal Democrats will continue to work and assist The York Hospital, where possible, to ensure quality services are provided to all residents.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“Over recent months, a significant amount of effort has been made to improve services at The York Hospital and ensure residents receive quality care when they need too.

“I am pleased that this has now been recognised by the CQC and that The York Hospital itself is now operating well.”

“The Liberal Democrats have recognised the detrimental affect of the Winter Crisis on the York Hospital and in turn, have secured over £3 million to invest in Adult Social Care and relieve pressure on the hospital.”

“Of course, there is still work to be done, but it is now recognised that The York Hospital is responsive to the needs of people using their services and it can lead improvement in our region.”


As part of the CQC review into York Teaching Hospital Trust, a team of inspectors visited York, Scarborough, and Bridlington Hospitals to review their core services

Check on vulnerable neighbours this winter

With cold weather forecast over the coming days City of York Council is reminding residents to stay well this winter and to look out for vulnerable neighbours and relatives.

Winter is here. The cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s health and with the cold and icy conditions vulnerable people can tend to stay at home.

Top tips for supporting older vulnerable neighbours, friends and relatives, include:

  • Make sure they’re warm enough – the temperature in  their home should be at least 18oC, particularly if they are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over, and they may need to  wear several layers of clothes to stay warm.
  • Make sure they are well stocked up on food, drink and medicines they may need.
  • Try to make sure they have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
  • Information about social groups and activities for older people is available through www.connecttosupport.org/york  or by contacting Age UK York on 01904 627995.
  • For more information about Age UK’s national Spread the Warmth campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk or see www.york.gov.uk/winter   more information about keeping well during winter


Oakhaven replacement plans on display this week

Last year, care company Ashley House won a contract from the City of York Council to design, build and operate an “extra care” sheltered housing complex at the site of the old Oakhaven care home on Acomb Road.

Oakhaven site

No planning application for the project – which is running over a year behind schedule – has yet been submitted but according to the Councils web site initial plans are being unveiled this week.

Drawings will be on display at Acomb Explore Library on Front Street from Thursday March 1 to Thursday, March 8.

A public event is also being on Thursday, March 1 from 4pm to 7pm at York Medical Group, 199 Acomb Road, York.

The site has been hit by controversy in recent years with the adjacent police station being threatened with closure. It was initially thought that that site would also be incorporated into the new development.

In addition, the nearby Carlton Tavern pub narrowly avoided an attempt to replace it with a new care home. That controversy is still ongoing.

The expectation for residents will be that a holistic plan for the whole neighbourhood will emerge quickly.

Oakhaven was closed by City of York Council in late 2015, as part of its plan to close authority-run homes which it says are out-of-date, and not up to modern standards.

The new “state-of-the-art” development will provide 56 apartments for older people, and will include a lounge and dining room serving hot meals.

People can also view the proposals or comment online by clicking here or via email  to OakhavenDevelopment@york.gov.uk.

The consultation is only open until 8th March