REFLECTING on his work in Portsmouth, Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones says it’s the right time for him to take on a new challenge.
As reported in The News yesterday, Dr Edmondson-Jones, 58, will be stepping down from his role as director of public health for Portsmouth in two weeks time.
He will be taking on the role in York next month.
He said: ‘The reason why I’m moving is family really.
‘My parents are in York and my wife’s parents are in Edinburgh, so we want to be closer to them.
‘But there’s always a right time to go, and although I will miss Portsmouth greatly, it is the time to move on.
‘And with change brings on opportunity.’
During his time in Portsmouth, Dr Edmondson-Jones’ fundamental role has been to prevent disease, and to promote and improve health in the city.
He was responsible for reducing inequalities for residents through the assessment of needs, the commissioning and provision of public health services, and by ensuring the best health principles are applied to all aspect of work by the council and NHS.
‘Smoking levels have come down substantially,’ added Dr Edmondson-Jones.
‘And with that deaths from strokes and heart attacks have reduced too.
‘I’ve enjoyed working on smoking cessation in the city and alcohol problems.
‘The most rewarding aspect of this position has been working together with partners, such as the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) and the Safer Portsmouth Partnership (SPP), to improve health and well-being and reduce inequalities.’
One of the biggest changes Dr Edmondson-Jones has brought to the city is tackling domestic violence in the city.
He said: ‘During my time in Portsmouth, one of the biggest challenges has been the unacceptable level of domestic violence, which results in physical, mental and emotional harm to other people.
‘I am proud to have been able to work with SPP and the wider LSP, and play an important role in tacking this issue.
‘Portsmouth became one of just 23 cities in the UK to be awarded White Ribbon status, which made a clear statement that violence against women and children would not be tolerated.’
Taking over temporarily will be Dr Andrew Mortimore, the director of public health for Southampton.
Dr Edmondson-Jones added: ‘Andrew is the right man for the job.
‘Portsmouth and Southampton have similar health needs and he has a similar background to myself.
‘He will do a good job while another director is found.’
Dr Edmondson-Jones says he will take with him fond memories of the city.
He said: ‘I will miss the sea and the football team.
‘It’s been good to see the city transform – with the development of Spinnaker Tower and Gunwharf Quays.’