York council election manifestos compared

4. Housing and Health

There has been a small reduction in the Council housing stock in recent years. This is the resulted from the central government policy which saw discounts increased for “Right to Buy”.

In response the Council has started to build new Council houses and has announced ambitious – by recent standards – plans to build over 600 additional homes. It has also started to buy homes on the open market to add to the rented housing pool.

On homelessness, hyperbole rules in the manifestos. All, of course, will end it. While the numbers on the housing waiting list has been stable, the numbers of rough sleepers has fluctuated. Labour support the Manchester/Finland model (where keys to a home are given to rough sleepers without any behaviour, substance abuse or mental health treatment conditions (That’ll go down well with the neighbours)

meanwhile the coalition is building on sub-urban playing fields and has made little attempt to find replacement open spaces, sports facilities or parks. Partly as a result of this, the City has an obesity problem. Life expectancy in some poorer wards is now relatively low.

Hopefully the new Council will realise that the is more to creating a home than simply bricks and mortar.

NB: Only 1 of the 202 Council candidates – who have declared where they live – is a Council tenant.

Popular falls prevention service moves into Holgate on its second anniversary

A project to help prevent people falling in their own homes is expanding into a fifth ward in the city, in its second year of operation.

Having started in Clifton ward in March 2017 as part of the council’s YorWellbeing Services, work to prevent falls in homes extended to Guildhall ward, then to Micklegate and Fishergate wards. Now it’s rolled out into Holgate. 

These wards were identified by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as having homes with higher trip risks than the city average. These include hazards such as missing stair rails, uneven flooring or poor internal lighting, especially for children aged under five and older people.

The partnership of housing, health and safety experts including North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Age UK York carry out free home visits to check and repair simple trip hazards in homes whether rented or privately owned.

Visits are arranged and carried out with a falls prevention practitioner and a joiner. They offer practical advice specific to the resident and their home and can make simple improvements there and then such as fitting a grab rail or banister rail, fitting brighter light bulbs, securing loose carpets or suggesting exercises to help improve residents’ strength and balance. They will also signpost residents to other relevant services.

Since its launch two years ago, the team has put thousands of fall prevention measures in place. These include fitting 733 grab rails, 277 banisters, 391 brighter light bulbs, 13 window restrictors, 11 carpet trims and four drop down toilet rails. 

Residents of Clifton, Guildhall, Micklegate, Fishergate and Holgate can request a free home visit for advice and help on preventing falls, please call 01904 567456 or emailreducingfalls@york.gov.uk

To find out more about the service and pick up some advice on reducing the risk of falls, please visit www.york.gov.uk/reducingfalls

Hospital patients get quicker access to social care

Patients and their relatives can get on-site help from a team of adult social care experts for any support needed to help them prepare to leave hospital and when they are back home.

Talking Points will open for monthly sessions at York Hospital from 26 March 2019. Drop-in support will be available between 2-3:45pm on 26 March, 9 April, 28 May, 25 June and 23 July for patients or relatives/friends of patients who are in hospital.

The Talking Point team can be found at the entrance to Ellerby’s Restaurant on the ground floor at Junction 2. Staff will be available for face-to-face conversations which allow them to provide timely, appropriate advice and support to residents about a variety of adult social care issues.

The hospital Talking Point is the latest addition to adult social care in York, allowing people to be seen quickly to discuss social care needs for themselves or their family. The original Talking Point opened at Lidgett Grove ‘Church Community Cafe, Acomb in March 2018, with an additional Talking Points opening shortly after at Oaken Grove in Haxby. Every week, people can also speak with expert social care staff York Explore on Museum Street.

So far, people using the service have expressed over 95% satisfaction with the outcome of their conversations and actions taken, with all saying they would recommend Talking Points.

Further Talking Points will continue to open across the city as the programme develops.

Find out more about where and when you can visit Talking Point at www.york.gov.uk/TalkingPoint .

LiveWellYork web site to launch

Community groups and residents are invited to celebrate the launch of www.livewellyork.co.uk, a city-wide source of high-quality information and advice, at venues around the city on Thursday 14 March.

The Live Well York website promotes opportunities for residents to enjoy healthy, active and independent lives and supports our commitment to early help and prevention, and to help people live independently and well.

Having been in development for a year, Live Well York is being used by over 1,000 people every month and is now launching formally. It offers residents:

  • some 800 community activities
  • an events calendar with around 70 events posted each month
  • over 100 volunteering opportunities
  • a Service and Products directory with over 80 services listed
  • 750 reviews with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5.

Developed by a partnership of City of York Council, York CVS, Explore York, Age UK York, Healthwatch York and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, the website offers links to good quality information and advice on topics from travel, housing, caring, money and legal matters.

To prevent information being duplicated, the website navigates people to other sites such as Healthwatch York’s Mental Health directory, the Young Person’s Survival Guide, a map of the council’s community hubs and AccessAble’s accessibility information.

Future and further improvements to Live Well York include:

  • a sports and active leisure directory
  • improved accessibility with Easy Read pages
  • training and work experience opportunities
  • including information for care homes on how to set up activities
  • growing the number of partners to ensure a joined-up approach to providing good quality information and advice.

Find out more about what the website can offer you, or how you can contribute to it at  https://www.livewellyork.co.uk/

1766 York patients denied surgery because they are overweight?

A report to a council meeting next week reveal how many patients in York have had elective surgery delayed because they’re overweight.

The Vale of York CCG’s “Health Optimisation policy” started in February 2017. Patients seeking operations but who had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 faced possible delays.

There was a long list of procedures that were not affected by the policy.

The CCG said it had learned from elsewhere that implementation of this policy could contribute to confined financial management while providing the opportunity for improving the health of the population.

Other claimed that the policy was driven by cost cutting rather than patient welfare.

The criteria used was If a patient’s BMI>=30 their surgery if delayed/deferred until the following was achieved:

  1. Their BMI is <30
  2. They’ve lost 10% of their weight
  3. They’ve not achieved a or b but have waited 12 months since initial assessment.

Since its inception of Health Optimisation in February 2017 the Referral Support Service have sent out 1,766 letters for patients that exceed BMI criteria. Not all of these had to wait before joining the a waiting list.

The CCG has claimed some anecdotal evidence that patients have reported to their GPs that as a result of losing weight, in accordance with the policy, the pain they were previously suffering from had dissipated. Some patients did not therefore require surgery.

Guilty plea by restaurant which caused anaphylactic shock

A restaurant which served a customer with an ingredient to which they were allergic, has pleaded guilty at York Crown Court which today (16 November 2018) ordered it to pay a total £10,721.

On  9 February 2018, the Garden of India served a customer with a severe pepper (capsicum) allergy, an onion bhajii.

The customer checked twice when ordering and was told by an employee that there were no peppers in the bhajii. But it did, in fact, contain green pepper.

The customer only realised this when she had eaten the food and began to go into anaphylactic shock.

On 24 September 2018, Garden of India (York) Ltd and its director Mr Shahin Miah (aged 46 of Colwyn Road, Leeds) pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.

In mitigation, the business said it has been running for 26 years and this is only their second time in court, it’s willing to take advice and has improved a number of procedures already.

Today, York Crown Court imposed a £3,334 fine for the company, a £1,800 fine for Mr Miah and £5,587.66 costs.

Cllr Andrew Waller, deputy leader of City of York Council and executive member for environment, said: “This is a concerning case which illustrates the absolute need for businesses to recognise and act on the importance of food allergens, customers’ health and the law.

“Food businesses have a legal and moral responsibility to control allergen risks by knowing what’s in the food they serve, by avoiding cross contamination and training staff.”

Cllr Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Customer confidence in the city’s food premises is so important and, while this is a very rare case for York, complying with the law around food allergies is crucial.

“We give advice which, if not complied with, can lead to legal action and we welcome customers reporting concerns to public.protection@york.gov.uk.”

Advice on food safety and standards is available at www.york.gov.uk/FoodSafetyStandards or, any businesses wanting tailored advice and guidance, are welcome to call us on (01904) 551525.

Foxwood woman leads cancer campaign

Clifford’s Tower turns purple for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

City of York Council are showing their support for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month once again, by lighting up Clifford’s Tower to mark Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope campaign.

In the UK, 24 people die from pancreatic cancer every day, with 3 out of 4 of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer unable to survive the first year. Jean Clark, 60, of Foxwood, was diagnosed in 2013 and wants to make sure that other York residents understand and recognise the early symptoms.

Mrs Clark who was initially diagnosed with acid reflux, before nagging lower back pain prompted her doctor to send her for scans, said: “With an average of 3% of patients with pancreatic cancer surviving more than five years, I know I am very lucky to still be well.

“This has made me more determined to help raise awareness of the symptoms which often misdiagnosed. Acid reflux, pain on eating, weight loss and lower back pain are common symptoms. Having two or more of these should always be investigated.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “It is so important that we raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and get people talking about it. This is why we are proud to be supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope by lighting up Clifford’s Tower next week.”

Cllr Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council said: “We’re delighted to be able to use one of the city’s most iconic buildings to support Jean’s efforts and raise awareness around pancreatic cancer. This vital, potentially life-saving message needs to be spread far and wide, and City of York Council is happy to help.”

Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain is an early sing of pancreatic cancer, which starts as general discomfort or abdomen pain which spreads to the back.
  • An inability to digest food or weight loss for no apparent reason is a cause for concern.
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

Clifford’s Tower will be lit until 10 November.

For more information visit: https://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/

Could you be a community health champion?

As part of a continuing effort to improve the health, wellbeing and happiness of residents, we are inviting citizens to become community health champions after the launch of the initiative last year.

We’re looking for community health champions who are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of their community. Health champions will receive training and support from the council that will enable them to;

  • Empower residents to make healthier lifestyle choices such as increasing physical activity and healthy eating
  • Develop new health and wellbeing activities based on community need, such as physical activity sessions
  • Promote current health campaigns including ‘Public Health One You’ through local interactions with

The campaign has already proven to be a great way to engage members of the community and aims to create a more supportive environment for local residents. One day training for community health champions is taking place on 28 September and 26 October 2018.

So if you are enthusiastic and ready to make a positive difference within your community, contact Richard Croker on 01904 553516 or email Richard.Croker@york.gov.uk to book your place on the training.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Being a community health champion includes learning new skills and using them to help make a difference in your community.

We are always aiming to improve health and wellbeing amongst communities across the city and found that the initiative was a great way to raise awareness. By having community health champions, residents are able to access advice and support to help them in their communities. Anyone interested in this opportunity is asked to call 01904 553377 to speak to the team for more advice and information.”

For more information on this opportunity visit: www.york.gov.uk/volunteeringopportunities, call 01904 553516 or email richard.croker@york.gov.uk.

Figures show smoking will kill one in two – don’t be the 1, now is the time to quit

City of York Council is supporting a regional stop smoking campaign, don’t be the 1, and encouraging those that want to quit to contact the council’s YorWellbeing service.

The “Don’t Be The 1” campaign from Breathe 2025 highlights how one in two smokers[i] will die from a smoking related disease, some in their 40s and 50s and is asking smokers to quit for the sake of their family. These odds are infinitely greater than the reported risks of being hit by a bus (around two in a million) or the chance of becoming a millionaire on the National Lottery (around one in ten million).

Worryingly, surveys show nine out of ten smokers underestimate the one in two risk, with around half believing their risk to be one in ten or less.

As well as York, the don’t be the 1 campaign is running in Hull, East Riding, North Lincs, North East Lincs and North Yorkshire for four weeks.

For more information visit http://www.dontbethe1.tv/ , those who want to quit in York are asked to contact the council’s YorWellbeing service on 01904 553377 or email yorwellbeing@york.gov.uk

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Smoking can have long lasting and devastating impacts on people’s health, which is why we have joined together with our partners and are supporting the don’t be the 1 campaign.

“In the run up to Stoptober there are more ways to quit than ever before and we are urging people to give it a go. Studies show you are more than four times more likely to quit with help. Our YorWellbeing service is there to help people quit and I would urge smokers who want to quit to get in touch.”

Dr Caroline Everett, Consultant Respiratory Physician, York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Stopping smoking is one of the single most effective things you can do to improve your health and life expectancy. Quitting smoking early can prevent the onset of many different life-limiting and life-threatening health conditions such as COPD, heart disease and cancer. However, it is never too late to give up.

“We also have lots of evidence from studies in many different conditions which show that, even once a smoking-related health condition has developed, people who quit live longer and with better health-status than those who continue to smoke.”

Health, care and housing plans for Bootham Hospital site

Public sector partners say that they will propose a sustainable and achievable development master plan for the Bootham Hospital site.

It will “support the longer term sustainable delivery of a range of service to meet health and social care need”s.

Using monies granted by the government under the One Public Estate programme, the partnership will prepare a Site Development Plan. This will examine the constraints and opportunities of the site and will involve extensive stakeholder and public engagement.

A schedule of public consultation is being planned for this autumn to focus on the future of the 240-year-old site – one of the UK’s first mental health hospitals.

The partnership has been working on plan for a number of months and it could include:

  • the development of a residential / nursing care facility to support earlier discharge and relieve pressures on acute care
  • a new primary care / GP base, bringing together practices into a single building and provide an urgent care centre and voluntary sector led space for carers and others who need support
  • affordable housing targeted to key worker to support NHS staffing
  • an extra care facility, particularly care for those living with dementia
  • improved access to the York Teaching Hospital for pedestrians, bikes, buses, taxis and ambulances; and
  • better use of the parkland at the front of the historic hospital building for sport, play and leisure