Guernsey Press

Two heads better than one for Public Health

A NEW Public Health alliance between Guernsey and Jersey had its first meeting today.

The first official meeting of the Channel islands Public Health alliance saw Guernsey’s Dr Nicola Brink host Jersey’s Professor Peter Bradley at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31952731)

Chairing the meeting at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital were the heads of the respective Public Health services, Guernsey’s Dr Nicola Brink and Jersey’s Professor Peter Bradley.

They explained that this new collaboration was more about sharing expertise and experience than it was procurement and patients.

‘We’re looking to optimise the Public Health services across both Jersey and Guernsey,’ said Dr Brink.

‘And we feel that pooling our expertise is a very powerful enabler for us.’

Professor Bradley said it was often much more effective and cheaper to work together.

‘For example, if we saw an environmental risk, let’s imagine a heatwave, and we wanted specialist expertise on that, then we’d be able to commission that together,’ he said. ‘We can learn from each other. On occasion, it’s really useful for Dr Brink and I to approach the UK together and say, the Channel Islands as a whole have this issue, and we have a powerful voice that way.’

Professor Bradley pointed to how Dr Brink had helped him with her expertise with the Covid pandemic as a prime example of the two Public Health bodies' relationship.

‘Sharing the expertise across our islands was absolutely vital to the pandemic response in Jersey, it’s a really perfect example of how we can help each other,’ he said.

The two Public Health bodies had already been working more closely together since Professor Bradley was appointed 18 months ago, but the new alliance will see an increase in co-operation.

Dr Brink said the two heads had an incredibly productive relationship.

‘We both have slightly different skill sets. We’re planning to meet regularly, twice a year, face to face, once here, once in Jersey, the rest of the time we’ll meet virtually. Today, we’ve got a core Jersey team here and the rest of the team are online.’

Professor Bradley said that in the past the bodies had tended to work with each other when an issue arises, and share opinions.

‘But this is about having a forward-looking agenda,’ he said.

‘Behind the scenes we can share a lot of expertise and understanding our own local situation.

‘We’ll always make her own decisions for our own islands, but there’s an awful lot of work, research and data we can share that is incredibly beneficial to both our islands.’