Scilly’s Public Health Report Criticised For Being Too Cornwall-Focussed

town hall windows signA report summarising the health of islanders has been criticised by councillors for being too Cornwall-focussed.

Since 2012, it’s been a legal requirement for all councils to produce an annual Health and Wellbeing report for their areas, setting out their priorities for improvement.

In Scilly we employ Cornwall Council’s Director of Public Health, Felicity Owen, to write ours on a part-time basis.

But at the recent Health and Wellbeing Committee meeting, Council Chair Amanda Martin complained that the report was, “all Cornwall, Cornwall, Cornwall” with very little data relating specifically to islanders.

Amanda said if they wanted to fully engage with the local community, then they needed more than the “tokenistic involvement of the Isles of Scilly.”

“From the front cover onwards, this is very much a Cornwall Council document,” she said, adding “it would be nice if we got a mention.”

The Council officer in charge of health-related matters, Aisling Hick, agreed pointing out that there were big differences between Scilly and Cornwall.

One of the priorities related to troubled families and deprivation. “That’s not going on in Scilly,” said Aisling.

Cllr Fran Grottick wanted more information about fuel poverty, which she felt was more important in Scilly than issues related to food.

While the Acting Chair of Healthwatch, Paul Charnock, said he couldn’t find any reference to better housing for the elderly.

Amanda Martin also said there couldn’t be talk about the health of islanders without reference to the fragility of the transport system.

“That’s a major impact here that’s not relevant to Cornwall,” she said.

Aisling said for people to make lifestyle changes, they need to recognise what was being said, adding, “they wouldn’t, reading this.”

She felt it was a legal duty for the islands’ Council to have their own, specific report and councillors asked Felicity Owen to produce one before the next Health and Wellbeing meeting.