Published on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 at 6:36 pm.

Internationally renowned Mental Health and Disability Expert to visit Isle of Wight


Mental health and disability expert Eddie Bartnik is to visit the Isle of Wight to celebrate the strides the Island has made in introducing the Local Area Coordination (LAC) approach through the My Life a Full Life (MLaFL) programme.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Public Health department will be hosting the celebratory event on 18 March. Mr Bartnik will be spending the morning with leaders from Isle of Wight Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and the voluntary sector. In the afternoon he will meet with the local community members at Aspire in Ryde who have benefitted from LAC in particular the recruitment of Local Area Coordinators, three of which are in post with a further three expected in post in April.

Brought into post last year, the Island’s Local Area Coordinators help individuals of all ages with mental health needs and/or disabilities and support older people and carers bring about their vision for a good life. They help people stay connected with the local community and, wherever possible, support them to be active citizens. Where formal services are needed, they support people to find and access that provision.

Currently Strategic Adviser to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in Australia, Mr Bartnik has pioneered Local Area Coordination in Australia since the 1980s as a driver of whole system reform. It is based on a belief in the inherent expertise and strengths of people, irrespective of service labels, to plan, control and contribute to their own lives and the well-being of their community. Mr Bartnik is also the first Patron of the Local Area Coordination Network for England and Wales.

Isle of Wight Council Executive member for public health, public protection and PFI, Councillor Phil Jordan said: “We are privileged and honoured to host a day with Mr Bartnik and this is a great opportunity for us to share our vision of My Life, a Full Life – the Island’s developing integrated health and care programme which aims to ensure that care on the Island is shaped around people’s individual needs and managed by them, so that people can remain independent, happy, healthy and involved in active communities.

“The Isle of Wight is changing, we are innovative, people’s health needs are shifting and public bodies need to change how they provide for that by working locally in partnership with local people and communities and especially through our own Local Area Coordination strategy. We are looking forward to meeting and learning from Mr Bartnik’s wealth of experience.”

Commenting on his visit, Mr Bartnik said: “I am really looking forward to visiting the Isle of Wight, a national innovator and leader in Local Area Coordination. I am particularly excited to have the opportunity to meet with local leaders and members of the community to learn how the personalised Local Area Coordination approach is integral to the “My Life a Full Life” strategy and the integration of health and social care on the Island”.

Mr Bartnik’s visit to the Island forms part of a larger visit to the UK where he will speak at the National Local Area Coordination Conference, taking place in London on 23 March. Anita Cameron-Smith, the Isle of Wight Council Deputy Director of Public Health will also be addressing the conference delegates about realising the wider benefits from Local Area Coordination.

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