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Building a Fairer and Healthier Highland (18/11/08)
The Highland Council, NHS Highland and Jobcentre + joined forces today to discuss ways they can work better together at getting people back into and in retaining employment.
The event entitled “Building a Fairer & Healthier Highland” brought together over 80 participants from Government and local agencies to look at the positive health impact of work and the way services in Highland that assist people into employment needed to be adapted or created. Delegates from public, private and voluntary sectors heard presentations on UK and Scottish Government policy initiatives from Susan Johnstone, External Relations Manager for Jobcentre + and Joe Dowds from the Scottish Government’s Workforce + Team. The changing employment situation in Highland was examined along with the range of existing services supported.
The event was co-chaired by Councillor Carolyn Wilson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Resources Committee and Gary Coutts, Chair of NHS Highland. Councillor Wilson said: “While Highland has enjoyed relatively high levels of employment there are still persistent levels of unemployment and low income in particular areas and among particular groups. The Council has a key role in ensuring its own services and those of its partners work together to the greater good and today is an important development in that process.”
Mr Coutts said: “I welcome this opportunity to consider how NHS Highland can meet the challenges it faces and how business and the wider community can make the Highlands the Healthy Place to be. Currently 74 workplaces in Highland are signed up to the Healthy Working Lives programme and the Condition Management Programme operated in partnership with Jobcentre Plus makes a significant contribution to assisting people to return to work.”
Delegates were reminded that the current economic climate means that the services will be even more important for assisting people affected by what it was hoped will be short term unemployment. It also means that we need to make additional and sustained efforts to assist people overcome barriers to employment.
The event was one of a series being held by the Council and public agencies to developing an action plan for tackling the impact of the economic challenges in Highland.