A group of prominent scientific advisers to the government visited Torbay, on Friday 17 May, to better understand the health challenges faced by local residents and to see how research can help address these challenges. 

Dr Louise Wood, one of government's top research funding and policy leads who also works with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - the nation's largest funder of health and social care research – met with representatives from Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

As part of her visit, Dr Wood learnt about the population of Torbay and programmes and work around supporting people with complex needs and the needs of children across the Bay. She called into Action for Children’s Zig Zags Children Centre to see the work that is being undertaken in Torquay.

The day’s agenda also focused on prevention, showcasing projects which are designed to help keep residents well.

Dr Wood said: “I enjoyed visiting Torbay and learning about the work that is being done to address the health challenges faced by the local community, particularly around the health of local children.

“Research conducted today will see child health continue to improve in the future. By ensuring children have a good start to life, we can set them on a path to healthy lives as adults.” 

Director of Public Health for Torbay, Caroline Dimond, said: “It is wonderful to have Dr Wood visit Torbay to understand the work that Torbay Council, along with its partners, is undertaking to address health issues faced by our residents.

“Torbay Council is a small coastal unitary authority with a number of challenges and we are keen to show Dr Wood some of the ways we are doing things differently to help deliver health improvement for our residents. It is extremely important to ensure everybody is given the opportunity to lead healthy lives and access good services and facilities."

The day concluded at the Horizon Centre at Torbay Hospital with lunch and an interactive ‘fishbowl’ discussion including members of the public, clinicians, service and research managers, and embedded ‘researchers-in-residence’ from the University of Plymouth.

Dr Joanne Watson, Deputy Medical Director at the Trust, said: “This was a terrific opportunity to showcase how all stakeholders in the integrated care system of our region are uniquely placed to work together to co-produce relevant knowledge not only for local but also national impact.”

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