Nottingham in Parliament
October 28, 2016

Nottingham in Parliament Day

Written By Ella McCahill

On Tuesday the 26th of October Nottingham took over the houses of parliament to showcase 45 events from over 100 partner organisations – and Roller was beyond excited to attend

img_0614As an Account Manager for Roller I was lucky enough to travel to London on this prestigious day, I hope to see this event grow year on year because Nottingham truly is a hub of creation for many sectors.

For those of you who were not able to attend you will find a summary below of each event I attended. If you’re short on time, scroll to the bottom of this article for the take-home points.

Financial Resilience in Nottingham and the True Cost of Austerity

The first session of the day was a heavy topic, but one which must be addressed if we are to move forwards together in Nottingham. Advice Nottingham hosted a roundtable discussing the findings of their report ‘The True Cost of Society’.

The report itself is a mix of statistics, issue summaries and real life stories from many of Nottingham’s most vulnerable people.

Unfortunately as the government has put in place measures to deter economic migrants, so it has barred the most vulnerable in society from bettering their own situations.
For example many banks demand photo identification in the form of a passport or driver’s license in order to open a bank account, however as these documents are expensive they cannot be obtained and a bank account application is declined.

The circle goes on and many of those who are homeless simply live from hand to mouth and rely on food banks and Nottingham charities to meet their most basic of needs.
The issue of red tape seemed to flow throughout the discussion, not just for vulnerable individuals but for those trying to help them as well.
With the introduction of Universal credit and the removal of the personal independence allowance, those who are unfit to work must attend a mandatory assessment on a regular basis to determine their status.

Almost all of these result in the same status being granted, therefore this creates unnecessary admin as well as increasing the waiting time for those who are newly applying the benefits.

We are led to believe the welfare system is being abused, but the findings of this report indicate that the majority of people who truly need help are being bound by a system which makes it difficult for them to get it either when they need it, or get it at all.

If there was a positive to be taken from this session, it is to praise organisations such as Advice Nottingham and the range of individuals who attended the round table. This ranged from giants of business such as Eon to affordable creditors such as the Credit Union.

Through awareness, education and supporting our fellow Nottingham citizens, we can help people get back on their feet and ensure the survival of a system which will always be there if we ever need it.

Exercise The Mind: How Mental Fitness Practice Can Give UK Businesses a Productivity Boost!

As a creative mobile agency we have worked within the health space for sometime, but there is always more to learn and new perspectives to explore so I was particularly excited to attend this session.

Jamie Bristow, previously an employee of Headspace – a well known mindfulness app – and now Associate for the parliamentary group on mindfulness formed part of the panel and discussed the benefits of mindfulness in business for centering the mind. And what testiment that this is now backed within parliament as well! He discussed various studies and ongoing research which indicated mental health was essential to overall employee well being and therefore productivity.

This was echoed by the other panelists who came from a range of backgrounds including psychology, law, business and politics.

It was interesting to hear how mindfulness has impacted each sphere, both in a positive and negative way. The positives being a boost in productivity and general ability to cope with stressful situations which led to a higher level of profitability across the business as fewer members of staff were signed off due to mental illness.
They also turned the idea of mental illness on its head and referred repeatedly to it as mental fitness – and quite rightly so, we train and condition our bodies so perhaps it’s time we approached our minds the same way?

The negative impact was broached by Beverly Smith, who as a solicitor often tackles the issue of letting staff go. She suggested if employers could see it as mutually beneficial to encourage employees to be mentally fit, this would enable them to cope better and generally feel more positively about their role. There is a stigma attached to mental health, and if we can overcome this and allow for time in the day to do so then this will provide a return which easily eclipses a brief 10 minutes here or there in the long-term.

The session was both insightful and thought provoking with brilliant contributions from all panelists. The setting was intimate which allowed for a discussion between attendees and panelists alike – upon leaving the session I was inspired to try mindfulness for myself and have seen embarked on the ‘take 10’ programme from Headspace.

They say mindfulness is a journey so stay tuned for a review of how I got on in coming weeks!

The Future of Healthcare Technologies: What is the secret to getting people better, faster?

The afternoon took me to Portcullis House for my final session of the day. The panel was formed of doctors, business directors and academics alike and we covered a vast array of topics considering the short amount of time.

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However the resounding issues for each health care professional seemed to boil down to 3 key points:

Funding the research phase to ensure proof of concept
Cost vs value when compared with existing solutions
EU clinical trial directive is both a barrier to entry & a safeguard

It’s difficult to build evidence for a product if there is no finance available to make the product and so many emerging healthcare technologies cannot be explored.
The difficulty in the NHS is a lack of funds which make embracing a new technology increasingly scarce. In an ideal world a new product would change the patient pathway in order to get to treatment faster, but this isn’t the case even in existing products.

For example, a specialist might suspect a patient needs surgery, if after an MRI the patient then goes on to get surgery it begs the question; why bare the cost of the MRI? It is an interesting debate and highlights the very real need we have for new technologies, not just on a patient care level but an economic one.

With Brexit looming that too formed a discussion of this session with many arguing for and against the EU’s clinical directive. The argument was that it made it very difficult to bring a new product to market as the product had to pass stringent testing, this barred many emerging products with real patient health & economic benefits, however on the opposing side without these stringent measures would the equipment currently in place be as safe and effective?

Further to this, would leaving the EU have any real impact when we will have to adhere to the same standards if we want to make what we produce available throughout the European market?

It was certainly food for thought – and not a topic I feel able to draw a water-tight conclusion for.

Take Home Points

Austerity measures have severely impacted the most vulnerable in society and our culture of demonising those in need of the welfare state has only exacerbated the divide in our society – it’s time for a change in attitudes because it only take a series of unfortunate events for any of us to find ourselves in the same situation.
Treating mental health with the same respect as physical health and removing the stigma in the workplace from centreing the mind has been proven time and again to boost productivity.

Healthcare technologies are advancing at an astonishing rate, it is integral we provide funding for research and emerging technologies to safeguard the future of the NHS and continue innovating healthcare the world over.

We can’t wait to see what next year’s Nottingham in Parliament Day brings.


For more pictures of the day head over to the Roller instagram or twitter. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the day!