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“Health literacy at the Deep End”, 4th UK Health literacy Conference March 18th 2016, Glasgow.
View from a Test Match Official (TMO) ~ Graham Kramer
Ever since the Closing Ceremony of the 3rd UK Health Literacy event there had been a steady build up to the 2016 Health Literacy Games, hosted for the first time in Scotland. Key players gathered from across the four devolved health nations to the newly rebranded Golden Jubilee Stadium (formerly the Beardmore) in Clydebank. The place was buzzing, in part due to a huge rival contingent from the Glasgow Orthopaedic Research Initiative (GLORI).
This was a nervous first time for me officiating at such a major event but comforting to meet up with seasoned-pro Dr Jo Protheroe from Team England, along with other members of the organising committee at the pre-tournament dinner at Roastit Bubbly Jocks. Fantastic also to chat with old friends such as Jonathan Berry and Gill Rowlands. Nerves must have been high at the pre-tournament breakfast the following morning when I poured coffee over my official match suit trousers, whilst filling the cup of veteran England International Dr Sue Roberts.
After forgoing the national anthems, I brought play under way at about 10.15. Team Scotland had won the toss and local hero Prof Graham Watt kicked deep. He challenged us to think what Health literacy really means. He gave us a stark reminder of the key role that primary care has in responding to the challenges that health and wellbeing place on people living in deprived communities. Helping people requires investing in time and continuity to ensure empathic relationships. Primary care is a natural hub to build connections of health and social support for people and communities which is key for people with the highest health literacy needs.
England’s skipper Jo Protheroe then took procession taking play back up to half way. She shared her research that she had done with England & British health literacy Lion, Gill Rowlands, describing the mismatch between the level of information compared to people’s literacy and numeracy skills. She then described the inspiring collective action that the community of Stoke on Trent had taken to respond to people’s health literacy needs, not without mentioning the industrial legacy of Stoke’s potteries. She then took a beautiful kick at goal for 3 points with a quick-thinking reference to local pop-legend Robbie Williams.
This brought Northern Ireland into proceedings with Dr Bernadette Cullen from Belfast Healthy Cities. She gave a fantastic presentation of their journey in addressing health literacy in response to Phase VI (2014-18) of the WHO Healthy Cities Initiative. She described the city wide collaboration of innovative stakeholders that had been brought together to make the case for change, map what they currently provide and plan areas for development. I couldn’t help notice that in one of her photos there was a picture of one of Scotland’s health literacy heroes Christine Hoy, on loan to Team NI! I was also impressed by the linkage with music legend, Van Morrison.
The ball was then fed to Welsh international Prof Adrian Edwards. He got off to a great start bringing the crowd to their feet evoking the Welsh singing talents of Katherine Jenkins, Bryn Terfel and, of course, Tom Jones. He initially slipped a dummy by giving the impression they were early on in their health literacy journey in public health policy terms, involving scoping the levels of health literacy in Wales. He then gained several yards, pushing deep into opposition territory, describing their quite considerable action and implementation around shared decision making, the pioneering Prudent Medicine programme and engagement with Ophelia. Unfortunately with the clock ticking down I had to blow the whistle for a lively panel discussion.
Highlights (slides) are available here