Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Leeds’s first joint director of public health

The city of Leeds has appointed its first joint director of public health, a post jointly accountable to the chief executives of NHS Leeds and Leeds City Council. The appointment is seen as a major move toward closer working between the two organisations.

Dr Ian Cameron took up the joint post on 1 November, having been director of public health for NHS Leeds since it was formed in 2006.

Ian Cameron qualified as a doctor at Liverpool University and afterwards moved into the field of public health. He held the post of consultant in public health medicine at Leeds Health Authority for 10 years, before becoming director of public health at the former Leeds North West Primary Care Trust (prior to the merger of the five former Leeds primary care trusts).

His appointment follows an agreement between the council and NHS Leeds, committing the two organisations to work more closely together to ensure strong and effective public health leadership across the city. Central to the new director’s work will be to harness skills and resources that already exist in Leeds to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, welcomed Dr Cameron’s appointment and added:
“The new joint director will have complete professional independence as an advocate for the people of Leeds in protecting and promoting health and ensuring clinical safety.”

“Ian’s brief will include health improvement, reducing health inequalities, health protection, health emergency planning, clinical quality and patient safety. It’s the first time all of these important issues have been brought together under a single leader.

“Ian will work closely with the directors of adult social care and children’s services with an agreed work programme aimed at delivering the health and wellbeing priorities in the city’s strategic plan”

Linda Pollard, chair of NHS Leeds explained that the new joint appointment is great news for Leeds:
“This new, joint appointment has been created to provide overall leadership in public health across the city. It will draw together partners across all sectors to promote good health and protect public health in Leeds.

“It will build on Leeds’s strong background of joint working in public health and associated issues and help the two organisations to work more closely together across local NHS, social care and health improvement services, ensuring equality of provision and reducing duplication.”

Notes for editors

The joint director’s overall target is to close the widening health inequalities gap in the poorest areas of the city by using the resources of the council and NHS Leeds to combat factors that lead to poor health. Matters to address include
• Giving every child the best possible start in life
• Focusing on health at work and employment for people with mental health problems
• Ensuring healthy standards of living, reducing fuel poverty, maximising benefits and reducing debt
• Focusing on lifestyle issues such as smoking, alcohol, exercise, eating and sexual health
• Promoting independent living and giving people greater choice and control over their lives
• Empowering individuals and communities.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Traffic-tackling mini roundabout for Wetherby to be considered

Traffic congestion causing problems getting in and out of Wetherby could be tackled by the introduction of a mini-roundabout at a key bottleneck to the town.

Leeds City Council’s executive board is to consider new proposals for a mini-roundabout at the junction of the A661, Spofforth Hill and Linton Road. The scheme has been suggested in the past, but has been re-examined to see if it can be done for a more competitive price.

The proposal has been put forward again after a deputation from Wetherby Town Council appealed to the city council for help in coping with increased traffic pressure on the town.

They reported a number of issues that made getting in and out of town and parking there “very difficult”, particularly since the upgrading of the A1 and the subsequent changes to access to the town.

Extra pressure comes from the fact that the A661 through Wetherby is a popular route for Harrogate-bound motorists after they leave the A1. Due to the road being narrow and parked cars allowing access on only one side of the road, it causes a frequent build-up of vehicles.

The mini-roundabout could help alleviate these problems, as well as allowing easier and safer access to the A661 for vehicles going down Linton Road and combating speeding traffic coming down Spofforth Hill. Parking restrictions could also help improve traffic flow.

Cllr Richard Lewis, executive member for development, said:
“We listened closely to what the delegation had to say and their concerns over access to and from the town centre. They were worried that the traffic issues were making the town less visitor-friendly and in the light of this we agreed to look again at the mini-roundabout idea and planners have now come back with revised proposals.”

Highways planners have re-examined the costs of the scheme and agreed it could be delivered for £55,000, rather than the original estimate of £70,000. Wetherby Town Council has agreed to fund £25,000 of this.

Executive board members are being asked to agree to the scheme and approve the spending of the remaining £30,000 to fund it.

Notes to editors:
From Friday 29 October Leeds City Council has been advertising a draft traffic order to introduce a short length of waiting restrictions on part of Westgate. This is designed to alleviate problems at the narrowest part of the A661 as it enters the town centre.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk