‘Prevention is better than cure’ formed the theme of a government minister visit to Keighley and Steeton on Monday.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison went to a mental health charity for women of South Asian origin and to the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
During her visit to the CCG offices she was informed about a new service designed to help people at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol.
The service features a network of primary care alcohol workers who are available to support GP practices in Keighley and Bradford.
Earlier in the day Ms Ellison spent time at Roshni Ghar, a Keighley-based mental health agency. She also spoke to two pharmacists who are working to make sure people with diabetes are diagnosed early and continue to take their medication.
Ms Ellison said: “Increasingly we’re aware that in order to sustain our health services into the future we need to keep people healthy within their communities.
“We only want people going into hospital who really need to be there. For example, a lot of people end up in hospital because they stop taking their medication.
“Also, we spend so much money on diabetes care. If we can catch people with diabetes at an early stage that’s not only great for the individuals and their families, it’s also great for the health service.
“If we get it right we can ensure we have more health provision to go round, and we can take pressure off our acute health services.”
Ms Ellison, who is MP for Battersea but was born and educated in Bradford, praised the efforts of Roshni Ghar, in Scott Street and mainly works with women from South Asian backgrounds suffering from mental health problems.
“I thought Roshni Ghar was a really interesting and important group,” she said. “They told me that many of the women they help felt quite isolated, so they are enabling these women to talk about their problems for the first time.
“Some of the women who’ve been through this process successfully are now volunteering to help others.”
Dr Phil Pue, chief clinical officer at Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: “We recognise that we need to change, and to become less reactive and more proactive. It involves people taking more responsibility for their own health, so we have to give them the means to do that.”