I have taken part in two radio interviews with the Peterborough edition of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Breakfast Show over the last two days. I quite enjoy doing them; they are a good test and a good way of getting a message across.
Yesterday's interview was about the Joint Commissioning Strategy for Older People's Mental Health; a joint document between us and the NHS which was approved by the County Council's Cabinet on Tuesday. The interview was quite philosophical and moved into some of the wider aspects of Adult Social Care. I am glad it was covered by the BBC, this is a serious issue with the number of over 65s in Cambridgeshire expected to increase by 37% over the next ten years. Whilst the fact that people are living longer is a great thing, an older population means more pressure on the services we provide - something that is made even more difficult given the tough financial times we are facing; so the only way forward is change. The aim of the Mental Health Strategy is to provide a basis for that change, as an example emphasising the need for more comprehensive training so that there is a much better understanding of the early signs of illnesses such as dementia and then doing more to delay and prevent the symptoms getting worse. The strategy requires much more joined up thinking between us, the organisations we contract to provide care and with the health sector - the latter is being helped immeasurably by the Government's health reforms. Pretty much all of what we are saying about mental health is true of all of our services for older people - we need to be much, much more preventative; making sure people can live healthy active lives for as long as possible is the right thing to do in human terms but it is also good for the public purse
The interview today was a bit more light-hearted. It was part of an outside broadcast from the new Cambourne Fitness and Sports Centre (which is a great facility) to promote Sport Relief. Normally I go to an interview with a good idea of the sort of messages I want to get across - today was no different in that respect, expect that I never managed that at all - but then chatting to Jeremy Sallis whilst we were pedaling on exercise bikes was a new experience for me. Not that I care too much, if I did just a tiny bit to help make Sport Relief a success and to get people more active, then I'm happy.
I did manage to talk about my training for the Edinburgh Marathon in May and my latest attempts to lose weight, which moved onto a short chat about trying to walk the talk in respect of managing a political portfolio that has huge health implications. There are other things I didn't get across which I will probably blog abut in the next few weeks - such as the Olympics, Gold Challenge and the Sport Relief event I am taking part in at Sir Harry Smith Community College.