Simply “bostin”


As a lay collaborator with the Communities in Control study (a health evaluation of the Big Local programme), it was simply “bostin” , as we say here in the West Midlands, to hear so many interesting speakers on the theme of Public Health at this year’s conference, organised by Manchester University’s Urban Collaboration on Health on September 5th.

The plethora of speakers was amazing, from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales ‘political ramble” to Manchester’s Mayors Ramble, we were treated to a vast range of topics. The programme included Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) collaborating with local volunteer organisations, for example, working with ‘take-aways’ to introduce a healthier option and reduce business rates; and a National Health Party candidate/campaigner. 

Following this, Prof Jane South introduced a fascinating Quiz, designed to dispel the myth of how many volunteers are involved in Public Health compared with paid workers. She gave a clear account of how Community Centred Approaches and Assets are valuable in supporting the Shanghai Declaration that Communities are critical in helping to reduce inequalities in health and well-being. Finally Dr Jill Stocks with her Patient and Public Contributor, Ailsa Donnelly, left the conference with a gripping cartoon challenge before a healthy lunch, “whose side are you on, and can you be persuaded to see another’s point of view?” This was a prelude to their afternoon workshop on researching patient safety in relation to trust of Primary Care clinicians.

As a retired teacher I found most interesting Prof Sue Bailey’s, of the Young Peoples Coalition, talk on her  research interests, which include development of needs and risk assessment measures and treatment for use with young offenders with mental illness both nationally and internationally. She was keen to promote with medical trainees a ‘Whole System’ approach for ALL children and young people 5-25 working as equal partners with families so that it becomes part of Integrated Care on every street in every Ward. Another great idea she promoted is Dr Charlie Howard’s Problem Solving Booths (, which would be great in the context of our Big Local Well Being Project (but that’s  another story).  She wasn’t too keen on allowing very young children access to mobiles and other electronic devices, suggesting “from Year 6 they need training to deal with analysing data that is being pumped out by the likes of Google”.

Suitably refreshed from the healthy lunch, but avoiding the crisps and muffins, I was ready for poster exhibitions, equally rich fare, crammed with over 15 expert designs by their knowledgable presenters ahead of conference dividing into six parallel sessions. These maintained a steady flow of mini-5 minute vignettes of the speakers’ research be itpure, global, economic, or the one I was drawn to which considered a “transdisciplinary” approach. Indeed there is some fascinating research at Manchester as we were entertained by Dr Roger Harrison, whose confession, “never listen to your sister” session kept us awake as he described working with over 20 local schools  on a ‘Body experience’ Flagship  Museum programme, which has contributed to the Antibiotic Guardian campaign.

Back for the Plenary the CEO of  the Innovation Agency, Dr Liz Mear, had brought products including a computer generated brain and atrial fibrillation digital monitors by way of introducing Citizen Engagement with Connected Health Cities (CHC) in North England.

Then it was time for time for Andy Burnham to test my powers of concentration – 12K School Readiness, within 5 years -was his big ambition…I heard mention of him donating 15% of his salary to a homeless fund, breaking a post-code cycle, butthis competed with the previous speaker (the Aiden Halligan Memorial Talk delivered by Dr Arpana Verma), whose central theme that’urban health’ is all about people’s stories like the 103 year old lady smoker of 95 years made more sense.

I am pleased to say that I was introduced to a new word in Manchester, ‘ PULLULATE ‘ which could sum up this great away-day, it means either to be very crowded and lively or to breed and  spread rapidly. Look at this link and see what I mean, it displays over 200 slides shown at the conference,            

But I prefer “bostin”, (great, or really good).


Author: Michael Tye, Birchfield Neighbourhood Forum

Date: September 2017