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Bonkers Blog December 2013

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21 December (Part 1) - The focus is on fat indolent smokers

Dumping the borough’s history on an unwilling Bromley wasn’t the only thing on the Agenda at last Wednesday’s cabinet, the Health and Wellbeing Strategy was due for discussion too. I’d like to be able to report what was said by the principal speaker and what her message was but unfortunately she spoke too quietly for the public address system to carry it as far as the public gallery. I gave up the struggle to hear and hoped that my recorder might be picking up more than I was.

From a combination of the little intelligence recorded and a search of the council website I think the speaker must have been Dr. Nada Lemic who is the Director of Public Health appointed last April. I heard the words obesity, diabetes, dementia and smoking several times so one might guess they are her priorities. When she stopped speaking Teresa O’Neill said that Bexley was doing a good job. Not good enough I would have thought; several times recently I have been in the vicinity of the Clock Tower and struck by the huge proportion of people who are smoking. More than half by my estimate and a good number gorging on something bought from the numerous burger vans licensed by Bexley council. The passage leading from that area towards Sainsburys often stinks.

Massey CampbellCouncillor Chris Taylor said he was particularly pleased to see dementia taken seriously because Bexley’s demographic made it vulnerable to the costs involved.

Councillor Katie Perrior was concerned for the disadvantaged children born in the north of the borough. Councillor Colin Campbell was the realist who referred to previous council reports into public health, one inch thick and glossy he said, but they came to nothing and no one was held to account. The council had “lost its way and we mustn't let it happen again”.

Councillor Don Massey said he was keen to increase activity levels to improve health. More exercise will save money on diabetes care etc. Perhaps he had that in mind when advocating hiking to Bromley to study history.

The meeting then moved on to the subject of Children’s Services which have been abysmally poor. Fortunately there has been only one Rhys Lawrie but with the same senior staff in place, confidence in the future may be misplaced.

Councillor Perrior said that things are massively improved now even compared with last August because of the new computer system and recruitment but councillor Chris Ball said that alarm bells will be ringing if the proportion of monitored cases not being progressed quickly enough doesn’t soon improve. Currently an unacceptable 20%.

The meeting ended exactly an hour after it started by which time the public presence was reduced to little more than those Mr. Tuckley advised me to dissociate myself from. Difficult when I am made to sit next to Elwyn because he likes to take photos.

As you can see, he sent me his pictures, all 30 of them. However only five different councillors are included because Bexley council insists that photography must be from a specified position. One which provides a poor view to only half the chamber. I think I’ll ask Elwyn to contact Eric Pickles’ office so that they know about Bexley’s half hearted compliance. He’s much better at badgering his way through to his office than I am.


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