Stephanie Ross updates us on the latest Health news in and around the Barbican.

Healthwatch update on our local health services and how to access up-to-date information by Gail Beer, Chair, Healthwatch City of London.

If the last year has taught us anything it’s the importance of how we access health and social care services. We are all far more aware about how care is delivered and how much it has changed.
However, it is in our daily lives that this change is noticeable and often confusing. Access to our GPs has changed, we are offered face to face consultations only where necessary, access and take up of screening that prevents and picks up early signs of disease is down, hospital appointments and non-urgent treatments are delayed, and even access to A&E is different.
Locally, we know that many have, and still are finding access to services difficult with dental services, physiotherapy, and podiatry being raised as areas you are concerned about. This is before we address access to mental health and social care, where changes remain largely out of sight to those who do not need and use them, and sometimes, unfortunately to those who do.
At Healthwatch City of London our primary objective is to be the independent champion for people who use health and social care services. We are here to make sure that those running and delivering services, put people at the heart of care and this, more than ever, is vitally important during times of uncertainty.
Over the last year we have worked to make sure that you have access to correct and timely information and that we raise your concerns with the right people, be they the local health services, GP surgeries, hospitals, or the City of London corporation.
Making sure you have the right information is really important to us, which is why we produce our weekly newsletters and, we know many of you have looked at our website. We go straight to the source to make sure that the information we give is correct and up to date.
At the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment is the vaccination programme, hoping for a return to some kind of normality, to see our friends and family, to go out and about and, for many, to have regular health and social care appointments and support.
We host regular information events that are publicised in our weekly newsletters – sign up for these on our website You can also access the newsletters there under News & Reports, click View All to display them in chronological order of release. The most recent event was a COVID 19 vaccination programme information event on Wednesday 10th March. Questions from the public were submitted prior to the event, which were then put to Dr Sandra Husbands, Director Public Health, City of London and Hackney Public Health and other key figures from the CCG.
During lockdown accessing the newsletters without a computer or smart phone is much harder. As soon as the lockdown ends we will be physically distributing bundles of hardcopies to the Barbican Estate Offices and Libraries. Hopefully, we will be able to get some out for people to pick up as soon as possible. We always ask people to print and pass on the newsletter to someone who might not have internet access.
As we move forward out of the pandemic and as the six local CCGs merge together into one, it is more important than ever that you have your say on what local services you want and need to be delivered.
There are a number of initiatives we are involved in and need your help and your ‘on the ground’ knowledge and experience to support our work. So, what are we focused on? Firstly, understanding what the increase in digital health and social care means for us, especially those least able to access care in this way, importantly, the redevelopment of the St Leonard’s hospital site ensuring that services are those we need and are easily accessible, making sure that as acute services return to normal that treatment and access is timely. Finally, we will be monitoring closely the developments the City of London make in social care ensuring that these meet the needs of residents and their carer’s.

We aren’t limited to these areas; If you have something you want us to raise or feel we should get involved in, let us know. No matter how big or small the issue, we want to hear about it. To help us help you, we run a series of events:

  • Listening to City Carer’s events for unpaid carers across the City to raise concerns, share advice and ask questions. These are held every 3rd Friday of the month.
  • Healthwatch City of London Drop-in Sessions for anyone to join, designed for you to raise any issues you have with the health and social care provided from the City of London, ask questions and to talk to us about any areas of support or help you need. These are held monthly. Once back to normal times, we will take these sessions to venues across the City to ensure all communities are reached.
  • Mental Health focus groups primarily set up to hear from people who have suffered from mental issues as result of the pandemic, but for all of your concerns around mental health and access to services.

But you don’t have to wait for one of our events to speak to us, we are open Tuesdays – Fridays from 09:00 to 17:00. Due to the current pandemic our office is closed, but we are still here for you from our homes. You can reach us via our email info@healthwatchcityoflondon. or via telephone 020 3745 9563.
We have only touched on some of our work but look at our website and see what else we are doing, Sign up for our weekly newsletters, follow us on social media
We would love more people to get involved and support our work so if you are interested please do contact us.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Other health & wellbeing news

Jamie Farrell is conducting PhD research on expediting low back pain rehabilitation. The problem effects 80% of adults at some stage during their lives, with reoccurrence 20-45% likely and a lifetime prevalence rate of 60-70%. Notably, static working postures, poorly prescribed physical activity and insufficient torso muscular support produce back pain. Even low levels or short cases of back pain produce subconscious fear avoidance behaviours, causing injurious mechanical compensations, with treatments costing the UK economy in excess of £10 billion annually.

Jamie’s studies span across 5 years, with each year separated individually into two 30-minute sessions. He is looking for study participants with back pain in any capacity, looking to partake in clinical rehabilitation research. He would also be happy to discuss and answer any questions you have on the topic.
Jamie Farrell, MSc, Ph.D Researcher, Clinical Strength Director. Phone: 07710 022 221

Update from Saagar Patel (Dentist) & Hayley Azopardi (dental therapist serving the Barbican community for over 19 years) at Dentistry 100: Bleeding gums linked to Covid-19 complications. Bleeding gums is one of the main signs of gum disease; these areas of infection and inflammation can over time lead to toothache, wobbly and eventually missing teeth. Gum disease is also a leading cause of bad breath, which may become more noticeable when wearing a mask.

In recent years, inflammation in gum disease has been associated with other conditions like diabetes and heart disease. However new research in a leading global journal has shown that gum disease is also linked with worse outcomes in patients with Covid-19; this includes increased risk of admission to intensive care.

Taking care of your gums is so important for your oral and general health and it’s never too late to improve this! You can check your gum health with your dentist and see a dental hygienist to remove any bacteria from around your teeth. Most importantly, we can make sure your everyday cleaning is keeping your mouth healthy so we can avoid gum disease altogether.
Dentisty100, 64-65 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ Tel: 0207 638 7100


Health in the City – from the March 2021 issue of Barbican Life magazine.