Healthy Viewing Figures

By on 26/07/2013 in Blog, Cllr Bedser

Health and Wellbeing Board webcast

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, reflects on the success of the first ever Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board webcast.

As a councillor you would of course expect me to state that local government really matters. As the Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, you'd further anticipate my belief in the importance of public health campaigns and initiatives.

Whether it's advice on diabetes, smoking cessation or initiatives to tackle obesity, the wide-ranging remit of public health is relevant to every single member of every single community across our great city.

So I've been delighted this week to see just how much interest there is across the city in the debate about how we tackle the very real health inequalities affecting people in 2013.

In April local councils assumed responsibility for public health and in Birmingham we must address a wide range of issues including smoking, alcohol, substance abuse and sexual health.

These are very real issues that have an impact on the everyday life of individuals and communities in Birmingham. As I stated earlier, public health really matters.

One of my responsibilities as the cabinet member is to chair the Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board - a group of leaders from the health and care system working together to improve wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.

On Tuesday we streamed a Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board meeting live on the internet for the first time and, as I write this, we've already attracted over 1,100 viewers (that's for the live broadcast and the archive).

Now I acknowledge that we are a city of over one million people, but have you ever been in the public gallery of your average council meeting? We're not exactly turning people away at the doors.

So in that context, over 1,100 viewers gives a clear indication that people are interested in big health decisions and debates that will shape public health provision across the city.

On Tuesday, among other vital issues, we looked at the scourge of childhood obesity, endorsing an ambitious plan to tackle the fact that one in four 11-year-olds is currently classed as clinically obese. The debate was honest, open and constructive. The determination to succeed was clear.

We'll be looking at many other hugely important issues over the coming months and now, thanks to the wonders of technology, the people of Birmingham will be able to tune in, hear the debate and, of course, hold us to account.

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