Bolton Health Consortium Event

In November 2011 the University of Bolton partnered with the new Bolton Health Consortium in a public engagement event. Led by the newly formed Clinical Commissioning Group; Bolton Health Consortium, it provided an opportunity for them to open a two way dialogue with residents of Bolton. For those attending the event it provided them with an opportunity to give their views on how NHS should spend cash, and to understand the complex decisions faced by the consortium. For the consortium it helped them access and understand the priorities local people hold, with very keen interest on taking people’s views on board.

The event was designed to allow contributions throughout the day. People sat on tables of 10 to 12 each with an experienced facilitator. They then worked through exercises starting with big picture questions including 'what should be the values of the NHS' before focusing in on specific issues around public health and prescribing. At the end of the day they took part in a game where they had to decide what the local priorities for the area should be; given a finite amount of resources.

The outcome of the session is being used by Bolton Health Consortium to help set their funding priorities for the next round of commissioning. 

Greater Manchester Public Health Practice Unit – Research Engagement with Hard to Reach Groups for Health Improvement

There is a public health concern that certain populations – namely the most socially and economically disadvantaged groups in society - are less well provided for by the health service. There is also, at present, an increasing awareness of the need to include patients in the design and evaluation of health services. The Greater Manchester Public Health Network and the School of Health and Social Sciences at the University of Bolton have been involved in discussions and pilot work around proposed programmes of research which link experiential knowledge with interventions that can be seen to have an impact on reducing health inequalities and improving health outcomes. Such collaborative working is also desirable in the opportunities it offers for shared learning and knowledge transfer. The research employed a participatory research methodology in order to engage with vulnerable groups and develop interventions that are not only acceptable to these groups but can be demonstrated to improve their health. Through the course of this collaboration, a number of particular health issues have been identified as potentially suitable areas of research, each involving a 'hard-to-reach' group.

NHS Blackburn with Darwen - Health Foundation Shared Leadership for Change (BME) Scheme


This evaluation, undertaken by Bob Snape, Phil Binks and Liz Such, supported the implementation of an intervention to effect change management in public health through a project designed to increase levels of physical activity and healthy eating amongst a target group of South Asian females aged 18-40. This project enabled front-line staff working with the target group to gain a deeper understanding of the socio-cultural factors relevant to the engagement of this group and to introduce modifications to service delivery which led to more effective provision and increased engagement.

Bolton Connexions (Positive Activities for Young People) Key Worker Scheme

Positive Activities for Young People is a national Government programme for young people aged 8-19. It offers arts, sports, cultural and educational activities for young people who are at risk. Bolton Connexions implemented a Key Worker scheme through which a cohort of young people involved in Positive Activities for Young people  who were considered to be most at risk of exclusion and involvement in criminal behaviour were assigned a Key Worker to support their school attendance and social behaviour and in the case of older children, career planning and work experience. We were able to support the implementation of the scheme through identifying good practice by Key Workers and disseminating this within the project.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Services Network National and Early Detection Initiative

We are currently involved in an evaluation and consultancy project with a funded pilot project of this initiative delivered by Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living. This aims to develop cancer awareness within a BME (predominantly British South Asian community) through the establishment and training of a cohort of volunteers. A major aim of the project is to enhance levels of social capital within this community and we have been specifically asked to investigate this as part of our evaluation. To date the project has been successful in recruiting a cohort of volunteers and in training them to become active within the target community. The next stage of the project, and of our evaluation, will be concerned with the effectiveness of the cohort's engagement with the target community and the extent to which the project contributes to the growth of social networks and sustainable provision of culturally appropriate cancer awareness interventions.

Health Awareness and the Health  Mela

In conjunction with the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing, the Centre has been involved in running health awareness events – Health Melas – for over ten years, initially in Preston and Bolton, but in recent years also in the Fylde, Leyland, Bradford, Ilford and Cardiff.  Data from these health fairs which include numbers taking up diagnostic test opportunities, numbers referred on and for what reason and general feedback from participants is currently being analysed to assess the efficacy of this approach to health education as a means of reaching otherwise hard to access groups, especially South Asians who have some health issues specific to this group and who do not access health services as often as some other groups.

Attitudes to Vaccination against HPV in BME Groups

This questionnaire based research is being conducted as a partnership between NHS consultants and staff in the Psychology section to determine whether there is significant opposition to HPV vaccination of girls (12-14) amongst Black and Minority Ethnic groups and, if there is, what the basis of that opposition might be.

Attitudes to Organ Donation in South Asian Communities

It is well known that there is an acute shortage of suitable organ donations amongst the population as a whole, but there is a disproportionately large shortfall amongst the south Asian community.  This study seeks to identify whether the reluctance to donate is cultural or religious and what, if anything, might be done to counter it.  This research is in collaboration with the NHS and the University of Wolverhampton.