Councillor Catch-Up: Health and Wellbeing Board June 2022

Councillor Will Connolly attended his first Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on 9th June. The Health and Wellbeing Board is a collaboration between Bromley Council and various partner agencies, whose role is to understand their local community’s needs, agree priorities and encourage commissioners to work in a more joined-up way. As a result, patients and the public should experience more joined-up services from the NHS and local councils in the future. The Board brings together Bromley Councillors, GP’s, Public Health, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Voluntary Sector.

Here is Will’s report:

The meeting opened with an oral question on how Bromley will prioritise and tackle obesity in the borough. The Chairman gave a response about how the issues of obesity touch on various areas of the Council’s work, and indeed national government and the NHS. The Chairman noted how the Council will encourage active travel, including to schools.


Update on Children and Young People’s Mental Health

The Board heard an update on Children and Young People’s mental health from Bromley Y and Bromley CAMHS. A new model is leading to better outcomes, although the model is being severely tested by the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, creating multi-faceted challenges. The Board was briefed that funding is important, but also early intervention – before services are needed.


The panel from Bromley Y and Bromley CAMHS presented how they are growing services and testing different ways of working to address the range of other issues that are affecting young people. They are aware there are long waits for access to services. They are tackling this issue with other forms of signposting and access, such as text message information and webinars. Recruitment for Bromley Y is ongoing with some new hires starting in summer 2022. They are also addressing training needs of staff and report to the Board on how they need more resources to meet the demand for services.


The panel reported on an increase of mental health needs for young people; the complexity and numbers of patients has increased. Many patients have spent a long time in A&E which is a concern for the panel. Bromley Y and Bromley CAMHS are looking at creative ways to recruit, train and keep skilled staff. The panel recognised there is a gap between the two services and associated risks, but both services are talking, collaborating and coming up with new ideas, such as joint training.


To support early intervention, Bromley CAMHS is working with the Council’s Education team and Schools. There are mental health & wellbeing leads in most school in Bromley, and there is training to support. However, there is a mixed model (and needs) where some schools are opting/ needing to buy their own counsellor services.


The panel reported that there is a massive increase in self-harm and attempted suicide for young people across UK, including in Bromley.


Cllr Connolly asked, what more the Council and Councillors can do to support these two important services for our children and young people and heard that “Bromley needs to have a compassionate stance on the services we provide.” It challenges represent a whole-society issue.


Public Health Management

On other matters, Public Health colleagues in the Council and CCG are taking a wider approach to vaccine hesitancy, reflecting on lessons learnt from the pandemic, through engaging target communities with other health information e.g., prostate disease/ cancer at community events.


Substance Misuse Needs Assessment

The presentation covered the increase in drug-related deaths since 2010; with an increase in 16–24-year-olds using cannabis and nitrous oxide, affecting the most deprived areas in the borough. Stigma and lack of trust were given as some of the reasons for why people are reluctant to access the Bromley Drug and Alcohol Service, and the fear of losing services and housing. An Alcohol Needs Assessment is also to follow, and key recommendations include improving data collection, a review of partnerships, and targeting vulnerable groups.


Cllr Will Connolly, Beckenham and Copers Cope Ward, member of the Health and Wellbeing Board

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