Friday, March 21, 2008

Ward Health Check

So what's this then? Does it involve Dr Wallis whipping out his stethoscope (ahem).

No, no - it's simply a fresh approach to an old communication tool. In Haughton West we were the first to try out street surgeries in Darlington, although they've become commonplace now in some other wards across the town.

But whilst a handful of residents usually respond, we don't get to talk to the vast majority of residents during sessions. The Ward Health Check, then, is simply about proactively contacting more people to see if there are any local issues which need sorting.

David, Andy and I tried it yesterday lunchtime with our local MP Alan Milburn on the Whinfield Park estate. We covered about half the houses, and got a really positive response. Particularly pleasing was the fact that everyone who was on the internet was happy to sign up to our fortnightly Haughton West e-newsletter, which next week will have its 4th edition.

We hope to have a Health Check in every street in the ward in the next 12 months.


Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Thanks for the letter Nick, but my wife and I were at work when and Alan Milburn and you called.

I know Alan Milburn is such a busy chap, but surely if you and he really wanted to meet more residents on Whinfield Park you could have chosen a time which was convenient for them - say 7 p.m. during the week?

Incidentally Alan Milburn still hasn't responded to my correspondence in the Autumn and your e mail to him about dental charges. It doesn't matter now we have found a NHS dentist.

Ian White, said...


Was this street surgery before or after Mr Milburn and Phil Taylor voted to close the Post offices, you must remember the Post Offices the ones only last week they vowed to fight for?

PS: does complaining/moaning on your blob add to my overall total with DBC or are these moans "free"?

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon Madam. We represent Pepsico Inc. Our colleague here with the notepad will take your order.

Anonymous said...

You order what you like but make sure you order because otherwise Pepsico may say I am not earning my £25000 for 10 hours of meetings.

You never know I might even have to go to the Commons for the odd debate

Your hardworking MP


Anonymous said...


2 large burgers with fries

Anonymous said...

and a Pepsi.

Anonymous said...

Bit ironic aint it? A health check with a guy representing a company producing the most unhealthy food and drink on the planet.

Darlington Councillor said...

Yes, yes, very funny everyone.

Ian - on your point, I think certainly Phil Wilson in the Echo, and Alan as well have been misrepresented.

The position of the Government and most Labour MP's is that with the Post Office losing over half a million punds a day, some rationalisation of the network is necessary to stop taxpayers' money haemorraging further.

As Gordon Brown said in the Commons, "The fact of the matter is there are 800 post offices where on average 16 people attend every week and we have got to take action."

What is at issue is whether the post offices selected are the right ones - that is what the consultation exercise is all about. Labour MP's have been listening to their constituents where campaigns have been started to protect the best used and most valuable Post Offices. The minister concerned, John Hutton, has made it clear that not all the 2,500 named post offices in the closure proposals have to shut.

Interestingly, the Tories' motion in the Commons last week didn't promise any extra cash to keep any branches open - hence Huttion's charge that the Conservatives were serving up a "cocktail of false hopes, flawed economics and opportunism of the highest order".

Alan, on your point, I'm sorry that we weren't around in the evening to speak to you or your wife. This is very much a new model of communication, and will require some tweaking, and we'll be revising it to try and give everyone a chance to speak to us across the day when we conduct our next session.

In the meantime, we can be contacted anytime by email, phone or as you know, via this blog!

Martin said...

"...over half a million punds a day,"

Have you started typing in Geordie?


Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In the meantime, we can be contacted anytime by email, phone or as you know, via this blog!

Strange thing to say Cllr, Alan didnt respond to a mail or an email from you re Alan Macnab ?

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