Minister Henry Returns From Overseas

On Saturday 25 November 2023, Minister for Health and Social Care Martin Henry returned to St Helena following two weeks overseas.

During that time Minister Henry attended the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in London, met with health officials in the UK, and travelled to Gibraltar to meet with government and health officials there, a trip facilitated by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Professor Ian Cummings, Health Ambassador to the Overseas Territories (OTs).  

The JMC is the highest forum for political dialogue and consultation between the UK and the OTs, and takes place annually in London. This year the St Helena delegation included the Chief Minister Julie Thomas and Minister Henry. This allowed Minister Henry to liaise with delegations from the other OTs, and to undertake a number of other meetings with key health officials and colleagues in the UK. This included meetings with the UKHSA, which provides support to the OTs, and with UK officials currently leading on leveraging digital health approaches to improve health outcomes. The UKHSA also facilitated meetings with leading diabetes specialists, noting that this is one of the most significant public health challenges facing the Island, with approximately one in three people in St Helena either having diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Minister Henry travelled to Gibraltar on Saturday 18 November to build links between the two Overseas Territories, to gain an understanding of how the healthcare operates in Gibraltar, and to exchange knowledge on approaches and best practices.

Whilst on his trip, Minister Henry was taken on a tour of Saint Bernard’s Hospital where he was shown the Dialysis Unit, Intensive Care Unit, Maternity (Neo Natal Unit), Accident and Emergency Unit (A&E), Primary Care Centre and Children’s Health Centre. Minister Henry’s trip also included a visit to Ocean Views, a Mental Health facility, as well as the Elderly Residential Services care homes, Mount Alvernia and Hillside.

Reflecting on his trip to the UK, Minister Martin Henry said:

“During the last two weeks I have had an incredibly busy schedule, but am pleased to have been able to participate in so many informative discussions and build so many great connections with sector leaders. These will be crucial in further improving our health offering to the people of St Helena. These discussions ranged from other OT elected leaders, to key health officials and a Public Health Director. I also spent an entire day with Dr Hatim Abdulhussein, National Clinical Lead in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Medical Workforce NHS England, looking at how we can use Digital innovation to help fill the gaps with operating a limited Health service, which was highly enlightening.”

I am now working with the team in UKHSA to link the professionals I have met in both the UK and Gibraltar with our teams here on Island so that we can further investigate some of the work streams from these initial meetings. This will include some exciting work around personal health monitoring, activities and diet support utilising approved app-based solutions.   

Photo

Minister Martin Henry with Professor Jonathan Valabhji – Nation Clinical Lead of Multiple Long-Term Conditions at NHS England (left), Sarah Payne Riches and Ian Walker (UKHSA Support to St Helena and the OT’s)

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Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh