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Newsletters > December 2010 > Newsline…Nowy Sacz and Krakow
Carl Petrokofsky, the health policy advisor on the UK’s PEOPLE Regional Steering Group, contributed to an exchange of experience in Krakow for Malopolska’s Regional Health Strategy.

He must be doing something right as he was asked back for more. Here is his newsline following a return visit to Malopolska, this time to the Polish region’s city of Nowy Sacz.

Experts’ Meeting

7th of June 2010

International Cultural Centre, Main Market 25, Krakow



PEOPLE Newsletter: What was the aim of the experts' meeting in Krakow?


Carl Petrokofsky: In response to ageing population, sometime ago, the Małopolska region of Poland decided to develop a White Paper on Demographic Change.  Earlier this year, it initiated a process to develop a strategy to enable it to better anticipate, and respond to the challenges and opportunities faced by a changing demographic.  The population of Poland is changing in line with that already experienced by some of the EU member states and the Malopolska region wanted to draw on the experience of colleagues in some of the other Member countries.


The meeting was organised by the Department of Regional Policy of the Marshal Office of the Malopolska Region. The ‘experts’ meeting provided an opportunity for colleagues from the Marshal Office to discuss and test out ideas of the emerging White Paper in a small meeting with colleagues  from more experienced PEOPLE partner regions.   


It also provided an opportunity for the Marshal Office to hear about the experiences and approaches taken by policy experts from Sweden, Spain and the UK which was run in a parallel session to the PEOPLE Programme meeting in Krakow in June 2010.  The meeting provided a way to ‘peer review’ and test out ideas for the White Paper.



What PEOPLE theme did it relate to? Was it about demographic change in general, or more specifically on how to manage an aging population? If so what aspects of this did the meeting address? 


The White Paper is a broad strategy concerned with the demographic change facing the Malopolska Region – hence it cuts across all aspects of the PEOPLE themes – and beyond. It examines the consequences of an ageing population for the Małopolska Region and sets these in the context of a wider European situation and looks at the changes in the workforce which will result. For example, it examines the impact on family structures and the workforce of an ageing population.


It then goes onto analyse the impact of these changes for older people themselves in areas such as healthcare, education and information, housing and transport as well as addressing how business will need to adjust to take account of an ageing population.


Finally, the White Paper will address how the Małopolska Region should respond to these challenges and goes onto consider how it will develop the strategy and the processes of discussion with a wide range of stakeholders including consultation within government, with policy experts and of course with the public to help shape and set the White Paper.


How many people took part?


The meeting took place in the International Cultural Centre, Krakow as a parallel session to the main ‘PEOPLE’ programme meeting which was taking place.


It was a small meeting between colleagues from the Małopolska Region with colleagues from the South East Region of England; the Andalusia Region of Spain and Stockholm, Sweden. Colleagues came from a variety of backgrounds including public health, social policy and government policy colleagues. We were able to hear about the state of development of the Małopolska White Paper. Colleagues presented aspects of their work on policy developments in their regions and highlighted key factors to take account of, such as stakeholder engagement processes used to develop other regional strategies. It afforded a small ‘safe’ haven to have a critical discussion about the emerging White Paper.


How did you exchange experience and how did the PEOPLE network facilitate this? What were the outcomes?  Do you know if the discussions at the meeting have fed into the regional strategy?


We shared the learning between us  - indeed, it was as much a learning experience for the international visitors as for colleagues from Małopolska. We each took away a broader understanding of the challenges facing different regions and the emerging responses to them. It was this correspondent’s view that the Polish delegation took away a variety of lessons and experience that other regions’ had shared, but were also strengthened and reassured that the issues they were proposing to address in their draft White Paper were important. The broad context setting and nature of the emerging White Paper seemed to be strongly endorsed by all those present.


From a subsequent visit I made to the Małopolska region I know that the discussions have helped set a context for the wider engagement strategy which the White Paper is hoping to engender.


In September, for example, there was a major conference sponsored by the University of the Third Age in Nowy Sacz which built on the themes of education and lifelong learning for older people and was attended by about 100, mostly older people themselves, but included a wide range of educators, politicians and wider stakeholders.


I understand that the next phase of the development of the White Paper has progressed considerably with a key period for further review taking place in mid-October.



What did you learn and how did the experience add to your knowledge of your field of expertise?


I think I was able to give a sense of how we, in the South East of England, were able to develop a health and wellbeing strategy for older adults which encompassed a very broad view of factors impacting on them.  I was able to explain the thinking behind the the key priorities we had identified and the process we had used to develop the wider strategy and how we were proceeding with implementation as well.


Notwithstanding the very different set of responsibilities, budgets and administrative set-ups in the different regions, I learnt that many of the issues I was grappling with were trying to be addressed in a variety of ways in Małopolska and in Andalucia and Stockholm. What I took away were examples of good practice in the different regions and, of course, the emergent network of a group of colleagues dealing with similar issues in an international setting I can call on in future to help deal with situations in England.


Carl Petrokofsky

Specialist in Public Health
Dept of Health South East (DHSE)

4 Oct 2010