Health chief's YouTube message

IT is a website known worldwide for its thousands of quirky videos uploaded by users across the world - so it may be the last place you would expect to find a message from a health chief.

IT is a website known worldwide for its thousands of quirky videos uploaded by users across the world - so it may be the last place you would expect to find a message from a health chief.

But Mike Stonard, chief executive of Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT), has taken his appeal for residents to attend a public health consultation in his area on to internet video-site YouTube.

In a 30-second appeal, Mr Stonard addresses his audience face-to-face with the consultation document and a simple appeal for people to attend and “help to shape future healthcare services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney”.

Mr Stonard said: “It is an important consultation and we really want to spread the message to people who would not normally get involved.


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“We do not know yet whether YouTube will work but a significant proportion of the population uses it as a form of communication, so we wanted to give it a try.

“It was actually my first time I've been on the site, but I've started looking at it now and I'm converted - it's fun.

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“My 15-year-old niece tells me all about it and it is great how you can just search for something you are interested in.”

People living in Great Yarmouth and Waveney have, on average, a shorter life expectancy than their Norfolk and Suffolk counterparts with wide inequalities in health. But The PCT's aim is to get the highest healthcare improvement rate in the whole of England.

Their journey starts by hearing people's views and ideas about what services it will need to develop to increase life expectancy, improve quality of life and reduce health inequalities.

Yesterday marked the halfway point of the three-month consultation, which began on July 1 and finishes on September 30, and Mr Stonard says the PCT is trying to hear from as many different groups as possible.

“We're very keen for as many people as possible to take part in this important public consultation and to complete and return a simple questionnaire,” he said.

“We're trying to engage with members of the public in many different ways, such as by holding drop-in workshops which we are advertising in the local press, doing press releases, speaking to different groups out and about in the community and making use of community television which was launched in Lowestoft at the beginning of this month.

“As an organisation, we need to be as creative as possible in reaching out and engaging with the whole of our community and we hope that YouTube will help us reach people who would otherwise be unaware of the consultation.”

The consultation findings will be collected and analysed by an independent body and published in October.

A healthier future, which includes a two-page questionnaire, can be read and returned online at the PCT's website: www.gywpct.nhs.uk.r

Mr Stonard's appearance on YouTube can be viewed at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR6OLFhhGjI

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