New collaboration to focus on reducing inequalities

A collaboration between three major public bodies will see the launch of an innovative new hub to improve health and social inequalities throughout Scotland. The University of Edinburgh’s Futures Institute, Police Scotland, and Public Health Scotland will come together to implement a pioneering Scottish Prevention Hub that will aim to improve national public health. Key staff from the three partners will be co-located at the Hub to build more effective collaboration.

National issues

A major focus of the group will be to convene wider partner and stakeholder involvement, working together to address some of the nation’s big health and wellbeing challenges by building shared understanding, knowledge and resources.

This new Hub will be co-directed by Dr Kristy Docherty, Public Sector Lead at Edinburgh Innovations and Edinburgh Futures Institute, Clair Thomson, Collaboration Transformation Manager at Police Scotland, and Dr Diane Stockton, Head of Clinical, Public Health Intelligence and Research at Public Health Scotland.

Effective collaboration

Edinburgh Futures Institute focuses on bringing people, data and diverse disciplines together in an open environment to create new ideas, working closely with and engaging communities, businesses, public services and governments. It convenes ‘spaces’ for co-producing effective ways to work differently.

The Scottish Prevention Hub will be located in the Public Service Ward of the new Edinburgh Futures Institute building at Lauriston Place, which is set to open in phases from spring 2024.

Dr Kristy Docherty said: “Our public services are faced with a variety of significant and complex challenges, which require new kinds of collaborations. The Scottish Prevention Hub will bring together Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland with the University’s expertise – from our academics across 21 schools, our sister innovation hubs such as the Bayes Centre and our professional services expertise represented in Edinburgh Innovations. The diverse nature of the partnership will generate an innovative research, education and practice, prevention eco-system.”

Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “Co-locating with our partners in Edinburgh Futures Institute builds capacity and capability for wider complex work, which, in turn means more meaningful intervention with vulnerable members of the public. The formation of the Scottish Prevention Hub will allow us to convene wider partner involvement and expertise, support earlier intervention, improve outcomes and reduce demand on Police Scotland, which, for many, is often viewed as the agency of last resort for those in need.”

Dr Diane Stockton from Public Health Scotland said: “Health and wellbeing is much more than healthcare and we’re delighted to partner with Police Scotland and University of Edinburgh’s Futures Institute. This collaboration aims to enable action to empower local areas to address public health concerns, improve mental wellbeing and support those facing the challenges of poverty to name a few. Public Health Scotland will inform the Prevention Hub’s actions through the provision of robust and evidence-based data and intelligence. By working together, we are taking a further step towards reducing inequalities and improving health and wellbeing for a Scotland where everybody thrives.”

With an ambition to turn Edinburgh into the data science capital of Europe, the Edinburgh Futures Institute is one of six hubs funded by the Edinburgh South East Scotland City Region Deal to improve the data-literacy of the population and develop innovative products and services through the use of data.

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