Radical Reformers ep.48: Influencing public health with Lucy Wightman
Lucy Wightman, Executive Director of Wellbeing, Public Health and Communities, Essex County Council
This episode is with Lucy Wightman, the Executive Director of Wellbeing, Public Health and Communities at Essex CC and it is a fantastic exploration of the role of public health in today’s public services and how far from being a specialist niche service area it should be front of mind for every public servant.
This is the second episode in succession with a public health focus (following the conversation with Kate Ardern). This is very deliberate. At this critical juncture for the government’s levelling up agenda, I want to highlight the key role public health must play in supporting individuals, communities and local economies.
We talk about the complexity of Lucy’s role in Essex, where she sits at a County level but engages with three Integrated Care Systems and 12 district councils – how does this work in practice? How does she influence the key people she needs to?
We talk about the current set of health and care reforms and what the key elements are for a county like Essex and more broadly. Lucy has a particular interest in health inequalities and why, despite some powerful works of research from Michael Marmot and others, this isn’t trending in the right direction. The question of devolved powers is key here.
And finally, Government can’t and shouldn’t be responsible for all aspects of public health so we discuss the role of business and civil society in ensuring communities are as healthy, happy and productive as they can be.