Business News

A&E strategy is ‘biased’

A medical expert has warned that the Government’s new strategy to limit attendance at A&E by only accepting GP or 111 referrals is ‘inherently biased’ against mental health patients. Kim Moore, senior lecturer

in mental health and disability at Birmingham City University, cautions that by placing additional barriers into the treatment pathway, the current system potentially discriminates against people experiencing mental distress, crisis or illness or learning disabilities. NHS England are expected

to roll out a new ‘111-first’ A&E model this year, with pilots running in London, Portsmouth and Cornwall.

‘Patients’ experience of mental distress, crisis or illnesses can be just as life threatening as some physical health issues’

“Previous public information campaigns has stressed A&E is for ‘real’ issues such as strokes, haemorrhages, coronary disease other physical health conditions and medical emergencies” the academic said, highlighting that the current ‘help us to help you’ campaign and 111 advice “omits any references to mental health. Publicity around such initiatives suggests that mental health is not considered as a real emergency – however patients’ experience of mental distress, crisis or illnesses can be just as life threatening as some physical health issues and deserve to be treated with the same respect, urgency and investment.” “Other mental health

conditions can mean patients are not aware of the risks to themselves or others,” continues, Moore, saying “They may not consider themselves to be unwell or do not have the words to describe what is happening to them. Replacing A&E walk in could mean this population will be excluded from support that could potentially prevent worsening of their symptoms.”

14 CHAMBERLINK October 2020

Key speakers at economic review

Key figures from HS2, Birmingham City Council and the University of Birmingham will discuss the impact that the Covid-19 crisis has had on Greater Birmingham, at the launch of a major economic review. Greater Birmingham Chambers

of Commerce (GBCC) and University of Birmingham’s City- Region Economic Development Institute will unveil the annual Birmingham Economic Review on 20 October, in an online event. The event will also include a

discussion of the report, with analysis and insight from Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 and Brigid Jones, deputy leader at Birmingham City Council. Professor Simon Collinson,

deputy pro-vice-chancellor for Regional Engagement at the University of Birmingham and director of the City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI) and WMREDI, and

Austen Okonweze, deputy director for Engagement and Planning, Industrial Strategy at Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will also take part. The discussion and event will be chaired by GBCC’s vice- president, Deb Leary. Paul Faulkner, chief executive of

the GBCC, said: “Businesses across Greater Birmingham have stood in the face of enormous challenges this year, with the Covid-19 crisis putting an extraordinary amount of strain and pressure on them. “This year’s Birmingham

Economic Review will certainly make for essential reading, and we’re really pleased that this panel of private and public sector experts can join us at the report’s launch to share their thoughts on what the region can do to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.” The event is free to attend for members and non-members of the Chamber.

Key speakers (top left to bottom right): Brigid Jones, Deb Leary, Simon Collinson, Austen Okonweze and Mark Thurston

To book your place, visit: www.greaterbirminghamchambers.c om/networking-events/events- calendar

Firms chase £15,000 advice prize

An opportunity for a manufacturer to win over £15,000-worth of free, bespoke, business advice has been launched by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) and Prescient Business Consulting (PBC). Prescient, based in Brindleyplace, will bring a

‘sleeves rolled up’ approach to help generate improvement and growth for the winners, who will be revealed on 12 October. The competition is aimed at

companies in sectors involved in manufacturing, engineering, technology, logistics, energy and industrial business with a turnover of over £5m and employing at least 20 people. David Thomson (pictured), PBC’s

founder, said: “We are very excited to have this opportunity to help local businesses, and to be doing so in partnership with the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, which does so much great work to support business in the region. “We know there are many amazing businesses out

there, but in these very difficult and uncertain economic conditions, now is the right time for us all to have an objective look at our businesses.

“Regardless of the industry, size or complexity, this is

always the starting point of our approach. We form a realistic, outside, view of the business and then find out from the owners and management of the company where they want it to go. Partnering with our clients as an extension to their existing team, we look at three key areas – People, Processes and Strategy – assessing the current competence, capacity and culture of an organisation before defining and delivering effect strategies to enhance capabilities and achieve aspirations. “The judges will be looking for

established businesses that show potential, but most of all have a positive

will to change and improve.” Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the

GBCC, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Prescient in this exciting opportunity. “The lucky winners will receive a tremendous

package of support that will give them a fresh and independent assessment of their operations.” The winners will receive a consultancy package

worth £15,000 in an exercise that will take three consecutive days. There will also be two runners-up prizes of half a day consultancy.

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