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UCLan launches 'One Health' strategy

(L-R) Dr Amanda Doyle, GP and Chief Officer for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, UCLan Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board David Taylor and UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has marked the 70th anniversary of the formation of the NHS by launching its ‘One Health’ strategy to transform the landscape of health and social care across the North West.

UCLan is the largest provider of health and social care education in Lancashire and Cumbria and is one of only five universities in the country delivering medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, complemented by a wide-range of other health related subjects such as nursing, midwifery and paramedic practice.

‘One Health’ is a major project that will see the University integrate its health and social care disciplines under a single strategy and cohesive leadership. The strategy commits the University to taking a new holistic approach to healthcare education, stepping away from the traditional discipline silos and focusing key expertise and resources towards the same health improving agenda.

Currently, 35% of courses at UCLan are linked to health and wellbeing with more than 2,900 students registered on health and social care courses. Each year, these students contribute more than 1.6 million hours in clinical and social care placements.  

UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas said: “Health issues are often societal in nature. Lifestyle, education, nutrition and environment all have a role to play and it is only by looking beyond the immediate needs of an individual patient, through inter-disciplinary collaboration, that we can help to fix these macro issues. The ‘One Health’ strategy is the University’s contribution to helping alleviate these challenges and the health inequalities faced by people and communities across the North West.”

At the heart of UCLan’s ‘One Health’ ethos is the conviction that early intervention is far more effective and cost-efficient than curing or fixing health issues further down the line. It ties in with the NHS’ Making Every Contact Count initiative to promote lifestyle changes such as diet improvements, weight loss, reducing alcohol consumption and stopping smoking. The key is to prevent individuals from becoming patients. The University aims to achieve this by working closely with new and existing partners in the NHS, local authorities, commissioning bodies and others.  

Already, the strategy is working in practice, leading to new courses in occupational therapy, nursing and physician associate degrees to help meet locals skills needs in both Cumbria and Lancashire. Within health and social care, the University has also developed apprenticeship routes that will open up further recruitment opportunities.

When it comes to research, the establishment of the Lancashire Clinical Trials Unit at UCLan is supporting complex trials in population and public health, cancer, mental health, midwifery, musculoskeletal health and stroke. Over at UCLan’s campus in Burnley, the Mackenzie Institute of Clinical Research will facilitate research into new ways of transforming primary care and community services through new technology and integrated provision.

Health consultant Janice Horrocks is working with UCLan on the project. She said: “The combination of all these pioneering initiatives will lead to real benefits for patients and service users. The University has a wealth of talent and enthusiasm, which is now gearing up to support the transformation of health and social care in our region.

“The University’s ‘One Health’ strategy is an ambitious vision, describing how we will build on our connections with people and communities to drive innovation and help create the modern, health workforce of the future.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, GP and Chief Officer for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “The pressures the NHS is under are well-known and so making best use of the money, staff and services we have is crucial. This means NHS and Local Authorities working in partnership to develop solutions to help people to live longer, healthier lives with organisations and groups in communities and our educational partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria. This is recognised in the ‘One Health’ strategy.”

UCLan Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board David Taylor said: “This is a very exciting strategy with huge potential to make a significant impact in our region.

“These are challenging times for all associated with the NHS – but by working in partnership, and through taking a holistic, ‘One Health’ approach, I am confident that we can meet our aim of transforming lives across Lancashire, the North West and beyond.”

UCLan’s ‘One Health’ strategy was launched at a celebratory tea party on the Preston campus to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS that was attended by students, graduates, staff and healthcare representatives from various NHS Trusts and social care providers.