A union official has criticised a Labour council for putting 11 experienced health trainers out of a job after it chose a private company over the existing NHS provider.
The decision by Stockton Borough Council to award the contract to provide health trainer services to the private Leeds-based company More Life in preference to the existing providers – a team of 11 health trainers employed by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust – means the NHS in the North-East is facing a redundancy bill for more than £200,000.
But the council defended its actions describing the NHS bid for the contract as “very poor” and stressing that the authority was heavily investing in a new family weight management service.
In 2005 the North-East was among the first areas in the country to benefit from NHS personal trainers.
But since public health budgets were switched from the NHS to local councils some contracts have been awarded to private companies.
More Life’s website says the company delivers weight management and health improvement programmes to individuals, families, local communities and within workplaces and has an impressive track record.
It was founded by Professor Paul Gately, one of the UK’s most respected experts in obesity and nutrition
“We are determined to get clear answers from Stockton Council and the trust as to why this has happened and why our members are facing redundancy instead of transferring to the new provider. It’s simply not right and we need to get to the bottom of this quickly. “
Stockton Borough Council’s director of public health, Peter Kelly, said:
“The Stockton Health and Wellbeing board has commissioned a new service for children and family weight management investing £1.4 million over the next three years and in addition to this is also currently investing nearly £200,000 per year in services for adults. North Tees and Hartlepool Trust was one of the bidders for the new service but the quality of its submission was very poor.”
Source – Northern Echo, 27 Mar 2015
A shocking gap between the life expectancy of men and women in Stockton is being investigated by health chiefs.
It comes after a stark report last week revealed Stockton Borough now has the greatest inequality in male life expectancy in the country – and the gap has widened in recent years.
Though life expectancy is increasing as a whole, the gap between the most deprived and most affluent wards in the borough is increasing.
A man can now expect to live 16.4 years less in Stockton town centre – the most deprived ward in the borough – compared to a man in Eaglescliffe, among the most affluent areas.
But the gap for women is considerably less at 11 years.
Councillor Steve Nelson Stockton Council’s Cabinet member for housing and community safety, said:
“It’s not happening with women.
“Do we understand why men and women are so different?”
Peter Kelly, director of Public Health for Stockton and the author of the public health annual report for 2013/14, told a cabinet meeting that “it is very unusual there is such a gap”.
“With regard to women, we need to understand why the same hasn’t happened there – is it heart disease? Is it cancer?
“That’s a separate issue we are investigating.”
As reported, Mr Kelly’s health study revealed the life expectancy of men living in the poorest parts of Stockton has barely improved since the 1930s.
In stark contrast, life expectancy in areas like Eaglescliffe is as good as in the most affluent parts of the country.
Councillor Jim Beall, deputy leader of the council, said:
“We can dwell on that and say ‘shock, horror’, but on an average people are living longer in the borough.
“It is quite shocking information, it’s what we’re going to do about it that is the important question.
“We do something everywhere, but we do more where there’s more need.”
Council leader Councillor Bob Cook said:
“We have got a diverse borough – the worst wards are in the top 10% nationally, the affluent wards at the other end.
“It does show we have done quite a lot of work to bridge that gap, but quite a bit of work is needed to make sure deprived wards catch up.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 16 Feb 2015