Call to Action 3: A whole person approach to health
At the Festival, we saw promising solutions integrating mind, body and brain. Yet, in practice, health and social services are fragmented, inconvenient or inaccessible for most people.
Being the first point of contact between a person and the health system, a strong primary care is essential to advance towards more holistic healthcare, and should be more integrated with social services (i.e. education and income support), considering the broader context of the person. General practitioners, lay health and social workers are fundamental to comprehensively assess the needs of a person, provide early support and refer to specialised services when needed. We also learned from Tanatswa Chikaura and saw from Kelvin Opiepie the difficult conditions in which they operate, often through unpaid work.
Alternatives to advance on this path include: prioritising prevention, investing in primary care, “mix and match” social and health interventions (i.e. social prescribing, psychological counselling, income support, employment advice), and increasing opportunities for career and salary progression in lay and primary care.
This was highlighted during the Premature mortality discussions on Day 4 of the #MQScienceFestival, particularly by Professor Carol Worthman explaining the approach of MQ’s Gone Too Soon programme to address premature mortality.