Angela Bhan's Blog
We have a lot to be proud of in Bromley. We’re home to over 330,000 people, and a large number of different healthcare services to help them stay well and recover when they’re not. Life expectancy has been increasing steadily for the last 20 years, currently 81 for men and 85 for women (2013-15). Premature mortality rates from cardiovascular disease in Bromley have been falling steadily since 1995 and are currently considerably lower than the regional or national average.
It wasn’t always like this. When Charles Darwin moved to Bromley 180 years ago, the population was barely 5% of what it is now, and the start of the NHS was over 100 years away. In the time since, our hospitals, GP practices, and other services have continually been evolving, offering better care to the people who live nearby.
This evolution continues today. We’re always thinking about how we can improve our services, both in Bromley and across south-east London. At the moment we’re thinking about how we can learn from the NHS Long Term Plan, which was published for the whole of England back in January.
We’re going to be meeting to discuss this on 25 July at Community House, South St, Bromley BR1 1RH. All are very welcome to join, with spaces available here. If that day doesn’t work for you, there’s also a range of other events you can join us at across south east London in July and August, or you can fill in our quick survey. You can find all of the information at the ‘Our Healthier South East London’ website.
I’m really proud of our history in Bromley and of the NHS working closely with residents, patients and community groups to improve the care we can offer. Put simply, we can’t do this without you. Patients are in a great position to describe how care is delivered and needs to change because of their personal experience.
For example, we’ve had great conversations recently about children’s mental health. Over 1,000 young people helped inform improvements we are making to our emotional and mental wellbeing service and also contributed to our successful bid for new money to set up new community mental health teams in schools and colleges in Bromley. Our local authority has recently held a really successful loneliness summit – a topic we know affects many people.
At our event we’re going to be thinking further about all of these issues and more. We know that accessing care, either through a GP, or in an emergency through A&E or other services, can sometimes be difficult. We need your help to think about new opportunities, such as using more technology, or having more care closer to home.
Darwin once wrote that “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” In the NHS we can only succeed if we collaborate with each other and with the people we serve. We hope you can collaborate with us so that we can make sure the future of the NHS in Bromley continues to evolve successfully.