Sunday, October 28, 2007

Health and the High Street

a heart with a sticky plaster on itOver on Flesh is Grass, our pseudonymous local writes to the Council about her fictional daughter Kylie [sic!] and the recent obesity warnings. Go read, it’s a hoot.

Meanwhile Margaret considers whether we [Barkingside 21] should invite a medical speaker to one of our coffee mornings. “I am thinking not only about KGH and Queen’s, but about environmental hygiene and how much spitting, dogs’ mess etc. are problems in Redbridge. What is the general state of health in Redbridge compared with national figures and what are the reasons for our health status? Also, what does the health profession think about reducing the bottomless pit of NHS expenditure by measures related to the environment? For instance, allotments are a health matter as is swimming, but both are deteriorating in the borough. There are huge profits to be made by the industries, which promote watching sport rather than doing it. Even the Olympics are a big media and political event rather than a promotion of fitness. Athletes are driven to the limit to achieve celebrity, sometimes at the expense of their future health and meanwhile ordinary people become obese on unregulated fast food.”

Judith ponders on the “inaccessible ‘garden’ outside Fullwell Cross library that can't be used by residents, except as an occasional rubbish tip.” She refers to the complaints by High Street traders about un-licensed food outlets and the Council’s apparent indifference to the problem. She wonders if these are threats to public health and the environment, let alone to long-established and honest premises? And she highlights discarded rotten food in black bags in the rear alleyways from outlets with no licence to prepare and sell food. So Environmental Health just gave them a council bin.

Finally, one of those chain emails points out that “only in Britain can a Pizza get to your front door faster than an Ambulance”


  1. Margaret's idea is a good one - we would need someone from the Director Of Public Health's dept - I'm going to a PCT consultation group meeting tomorrow, will see if I can get any contact numbers.

  2. frustrated resident9:19 pm, October 28, 2007

    Redbridge Council will be looking over the next few weeks for reductions in their spending before setting next year's budget and council tax. They could easily abolish the entire Public Protection "Service". Nobody would notice their demise, as they currently do little or nothing.

  3. Unlike the Nature Conservation Team, also under threat - post on the way.

    what is the point of being a Chief if you have no indians?

  4. A relative in the west of the Borough had serious problems with the ability of Environmental Health to deal with a problem that had been going on for more than a year.

    I contacted the relevant Cabinet Member (Cllr Goody) to complain about the service, and the matter was sorted within 2 weeks. If we do not bring these inefficiencies to Cabinet members, they may be unaware of the problems within their depts.

  5. I am interested by Judith's comment that she contacted a member of the cabinet to solve a local problem.
    Should not your first contact be with your local councillor?
    Do members of the cabinet accept to be contacted by ordinary constituents?

    an activist (who has to learn a lot!)

  6. Yes Activist, I believe they do.

    in the same way that you might make representations directly to the Chancellor, Home Secretary or any other UK government minister.

    It is though courtesy to copy in your local MP, or in the local case your Ward Councillors.

  7. Thank you Barkingside 21.
    I had thought that cc-ing emails when you want something done is a bit like saying I am asking him or her because I don't think you can do much about it, but I trust your judgement.
    an activist

  8. Dear Activist

    Contacting the relevant Cabinet member is the penultimate step, not the first. The last step is to get the MP involved.

    Because of the hygiene issues involved, we did on this occasion sidestep the otherwise very helpful ward LibDem Cllr, and I felt it necessary to bring to the Cabinet member's attention the inefficiency of the Dept he is responsible for.

  9. Thank you Judith. You are very knowledgeable.
    An activist