An “increase in self-harming in young people” in Peterborough

Self Harm

At a meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee, councillors were told:

“It was noted that there had been an increase in self-harming in young people but there had been no hard evidence to understand why the increase had happened.

“National research was being conducted and locally all aspects of emotional health and well-being was being looked at.”

Across England, only 8% of mental health funding goes to services for children and young people.

In recent years, referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have increased by two-thirds, and the number of young people presenting to A&E units with psychiatric conditions has doubled.

I believe we need to see real investment in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.

Young people in Peterborough MUST have access to a counselling service and messages/information must be made available in places young people operate ….. Rather than simply printing thousands of leaflets!

What’s YOUR experience of #MentalHealth services in Peterborough?

Westwood Clinic

Mental Health is a growing issue in the Peterborough area, and as a rep on the Health Scrutiny Committee, I can assure you it is regularly spoken about.

However, I’m keen to here from people who have first hand experience of any support (or lack of) they have received?

For example, in previous minutes it stated:

  • The 24/7 mental health help line that covered the whole of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, only had a children’s mental health specialist available until 5pm at present.
  • That the Clinical Commissioning Group was looking to ensure local services included a single front door for mental health referrals and an examination of how looked after children could be better supported.
  • All of the youth counselling resources across Peterborough and Cambridge were being pooled and a new provider would be starting in January 2018.

Sadly, since 2010 mental health funding has been cut, the number of mental health nurses has fallen by 6,600 and remaining mental health budgets have been raided to plug holes elsewhere in the NHS.

Half of the people with mental health problems as adults present with symptoms by the age of 14.

Yet, across England, only 8% of mental health funding goes to services for children and young people.

Please let me know your thoughts and experiences below!

Any discussion of mental health issues must include the key causes of mental distress in society, including joblessness, debt, insecure and poor housing, insecure employment, crime, domestic violence, lack of social support networks (especially for carers), and the pressure to be successful and conform to a certain type.


Suicide rate in Peterborough has decreased

Health Scrutiny Committee

Members of the Councils’ Health Scrutiny Committee have been told:

The suicide rate in Peterborough has decreased steadily since 2010-2012 when the rate was significantly above both the England and East of England rates and is now similar to the England average.

This is obviously good news, and I have no doubt that the decision to finally erect barriers on the Queensgate car park have been a factor …. It’s a real shame that they were not erected earlier!

Whilst I welcome the news, I still believe we need more support for public mental health and well-being in Peterborough.

The Conservative controlled City Council must address this and the need for services which identify and support those at risk.

They must also ensure that suicide prevention is given greater priority, so that fewer families experience the heartache of losing a family member to suicide.

For example, I would like to see the telephone number for the Samaritans advertised in locations likely to be used for suicide, such as the train station, and publicity messages adorned to the walls of underpasses and alley ways, throughout the city.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!

Going through a difficult time? #WeListen

Peterborough health system faces significant challenges!


At the latest meeting of the Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit, councillors were told that the health and care needs of our rapidly growing, increasingly elderly population are a real concern.

Areas mentioned, included; significant health inequalities, including the health and well-being challenges of diverse ethnic communities; workforce shortages including recruitment and retention in general practice; quality shortcomings and inconsistent operational performance; and financial challenges which exceed those of any other Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) area in England!

In my opinion …..

  • We need to reverse privatisation of our NHS and return our health service into expert public control. That means telling the PFI bods who’ve made so much money to date, and have caused such problems locally for years, that their time is up!
  • We need to repeal the Health and Social Care Act that puts profits before patients and make the NHS the preferred provider.
  • We need to reinstate the powers of the Secretary of State for Health to have overall responsibility for the NHS.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!

NHS under Conservative control
We really need to start worrying about the NHS under Conservative control!

Just 6% of Peterborough GPs under the age of 35

I love the NHS

At the latest meeting of the Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit,  we were told:

  • Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough the age profile for GPs under the age of 35 years (13%) is well below the national average (18%), with the lowest in the county being in Peterborough at just 6%.
  • Whilst 20% of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group‘s (CCG) General Practitioners (GPs) are over the age of 54 years, Cambridgeshire has a relatively younger GP profile with only 18% of GPs over the age of 54 years; however, in Peterborough this rises to 25%, higher than the national England average (21%).

In my opinion …..

We need to see some real action to address this problem on the horizon ASAP and we need the City Council to start planning, rather than dragging their feet.

Most people in Peterborough, no matter their efforts at school, never even have the chance to enter into the world of General Practice!

Sadly, the Conservative controlled Peterborough City Council have done little or nothing to address this issue over the last 17 years!

So what to do?

Well, firstly, I’d like to see more local people offered the chance to become GPs, I for one cannot ever remember it being a suggestion from our careers adviser when I was at school?

The Council and various NHS bodies, should be finding ways to encourage young people in our city, to sign up to a pathway to becoming a GP.

At present for me, it remains the recourse for children of the petite bourgeoisie?

Nationally, we need to see the NHS pay cap scrapped, re-introduce bursaries and funding for health-related degrees and immediately guarantee the rights of EU staff working in our health and care services.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!



GP Training in suicide prevention

Elderly Lady

As a rep on the Council Health Scrutiny Committee, we’ve now been informed that funding has been secured through the Sustainable Transformation Partnerships with some support from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council for training of GPs across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in suicide prevention.

The reason? Well GPs are most likely to have contact with people at risk of suicide in many of the ‘high risk’ categories.

The 2015 audit of suicides and deaths for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough found that two thirds of people had been in touch with primary care in 2015 or within a maximum of 6 months prior to death.

The 2015 audit results for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough also showed:

  • In males the highest number of deaths was in under 25 year olds and 50-59 year olds.
  • In females the age pattern was more mixed, with highest numbers in 30-39 year olds and 70- 74 year olds.

It’s hoped that suicide prevention training for GPs can potentially enable greater identification of those at risk, and earlier referral to evidence based treatment services.

Training will focus on the patient/GP interaction, risk identification, compassion and empathy as well as safety plans and follow-through care.

The Tories have consistently failed local young people on issues of suicide and self-harm by overseeing cuts to vital mental health services.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!

Need to talk?

Contact the Samaritans now on 116 123.

Going through a difficult time? #WeListen

GP’s in Peterborough are “Under Pressure”

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At the latest meeting of the Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit, councillors were informed that a number of general practices in Peterborough, were facing a range of issues, and were basically under pressure!

We were told that:

  • A number of practices were “identified as requiring support to become more resilient.”
  • 10 local practices had recently received resilience support for 2016/17, to the tune of £145,381.
  • There were worries about buildings and whether they could cope with the organisational changes that have occurred in recent years.
  • With councillors being told that there “is a perception that the current estate is not flexible enough to cope with either the new growth anticipated and/or new models of care, which will see increased provision of care in the community…

Personally, I’ve lost count of the number of changes, organisational restructures, renames etc over the last decade within the local NHS.

Whilst their is no magic pill, I do believe that Peterborough City Council must start making clear efforts to:

  • Focus resources on services to provide care closer to home and deliver a truly 21st-century health system.
  • Work towards a new model of community care that takes into account not only primary care but also social care and mental health.
  • Increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need.
  • Halt pharmacy cuts and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities in our city.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!

Jeremy Hunt
Tory Jeremy Hunt, gets paid an additional £134,565 a year (on top of his MP salary) for being Secretary of State for Health!


I’ve been appointed to a new Scrutiny Committee!

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Just thought you might like to know that I have now been appointed as a rep on the City Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee!

It’s a committee that I served on for several years previously, alongside the likes of Cllr Keith Sharp, leading on issues like teenage pregnancy, sharp needle bins etc and so I am very much looking forward to being back involved.

The topic of health is certainly a concern in Peterborough, especially given the fact that life expectancy for people in our city city is several years less than other areas of Cambridgeshire!

Worth noting

  • Overview and Scrutiny was introduced under the Local Government Act 2000 and its purpose is to hold the cabinet and cabinet members to account by acting independently as a critical friend through constructive challenge.
  • Overview and Scrutiny is part of our decision making structure and it reports to full council.
  • Members of the public, service users and partners are encouraged to become involved in Overview and Scrutiny by highlighting areas of concern with our service delivery.