National recognition for Wigan’s health innovation

lots of words in different sizes and fonts depciting health and social care

Wigan Council’s approach to health and social care has been highlighted as a model of best practice in a national report.

The independent report from leading think tank The King’s Fund, was commissioned by the Local Government Association and reviews the local government public health reforms.

The authority is highlighted for its innovation in improving health outcomes for local people through The Deal model.  

The report states: “Wigan’s approach includes a clear and explicit deal between the council and residents with significant investment in involving local people, acting on the things they say are important.”

It includes examples of how the council is working in partnership with the community to improve people’s health for example through the health champions programme, which currently has 23,000 volunteers.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “We know the long term health and wellbeing of residents will only be improved if organisations and communities work together.

“In its simplest form, that’s what the Wigan Deal is about – working together to create a culture of empowerment to draw on the strengths and assets of individuals and communities.

“We’re already seeing improved health outcomes from joined up integrated working through the Healthier Wigan Partnership and we’re leading the way nationally with this innovative work.”

Last year The Deal was hailed as the future for health services by The Kings Fund. An in-depth report into the council’s approach to transformation argued the model could have a major impact if considered more widely, looking particularly at the NHS.

Since 2011, Wigan Council has saved more than £140 million in response to central government funding cuts, representing 40 per cent of its overall budget. Despite this, in that same period healthy life expectancy has increased significantly, bucking the national trend. 

Over the past six years, premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and from cancer have both fallen faster in Wigan than in England as a whole. This is in part connected to a significant reduction in smoking rates and high rates of physical activity.There has also been significant improvements to the quality of care homes with a remarkable increase in those rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission, staff engagement has improved, school readiness figures are now in line with the national average and in March 2019 the Local Government Chronicle named Wigan ‘Council of the Year.’