Chaplain to the Queen, Cllr Rev Ann Easter urges us to have a say in our healthcare


- Credit: Archant

Since my brief career as a nurse – which was an unmitigated disaster; I talked too much, asked too many questions and made disparaging remarks about the culture of the hospital, but that’s several stories for another time – I have always been interested in health. I was angry to discover that Newham people actually have a shorter life expectancy than folk in Essex; according to the 2011 census, twice as many people in one of our Newham wards describe themselves as ‘in very bad health’ than in more affluent areas. And while I am prepared to accept that some of it is down to the East End belief that shopping and raising a glass to the lips are exercise, I regret to say that some of the blame must rest with the authorities concerned.

At the Newham HealthWatch Advisory group, of which I am chair, we collect the information perhaps most uncollected – that of the patient’s experience – and we are building up a fascinating picture. So many of our health and social care services are excellent, with staff who really put themselves out to help but there are problem areas which need improvement and we’re doing our bit on that (If you’d like to have your say, please contact or 020 7473 0519).

Of course, as a priest, my concept of health has to include spiritual wellbeing as well as physical and mental health and for that, we need to have someone to love (pets included!), something to do and something to look forward to, and I wish you all of those. Good health! More from Ann Easter