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Health Policy made by citizens


Detailed description of the Good Practice

In the beginning of 2007 a structural reform in Denmark resulted to the merging of some
municipalities and also to a greater responsibility for public health issues in the municipalities.
The new Vejle municipality established a new department to take care of health issues.

The process of developing a new health policy has been organized as a bottom-up process to create active involvement.
The aims of the citizen involvement process are:

•To involve the citizens in developing activities that contribute to the contents and realization of the health policy.
•To present the municipal vision:
Healthy citizens in a healthy municipality
Equality in health - it should be possible for all citizens to lead a healthy life
Joy of life as an important factor in health
Responsibility for your own health
Nutrition and excercises

  • citizens participation
  • health policy

Objectives of the Good Practice

The objective was to cretae a new health policy for the newly established department for health issues in the municipality of Vejle.
Through involving the citizens their opinions and needs were taken into account.

Participants of the Good Practice

Health department, as the initiator
Citizens of Vejle

Target group of the Good Practice

The good practice aims at the end at the health and wellbeing of the citizens. Anyway, the first goal was to develop a health policy together with the inhabitants.

More Details of the Good Practice

In order to achieve these aims following methods were used:

  • Life-style cafeés:

The citizens were invited to six citizens meetings in six different towns and districts in the municipality in order to involve citizens from all parts of the municipality. The life-style cafés were a great success. About 600 people took part in the meetings and contributed to the future health policy.

  • Wall posters were placed in libraries, schools, colleges, town halls, factories in the municipality of Vejle. The wall posters invited the citizens to write their proposals and ideas for the health policy.
  • Mails for Mrs. Nielsen

As a contemporary and a personal way the citizens of Vejle had the opportunity to send an e-mail to Marit Nielsen-Man, Head of the Health Department. In the mails the citizens could give their input to the health policy. Mrs. Nielsen received 50 mails with 31 concrete ideas. The mails were long – filled with project plans and ideas. These mails tell a lot about the considerations and engagement of the citizens in health issues and are very useful in the process towards creating a health policy. But most of all – the adds telling about “Write to Mrs. Nielsen” gave a lot of public attention.

  • Hepro survey + electronic citizen panel
 The results from the Hepro survey combined with the statements from an electronic citizen panel survey will be integrated in the process of creating a Health Policy.

1500 citizens have taken part in the debate. An impressive amount of people have used the opportunity to participate in creating the health policy.

The considerable work of systematizing the ideas and suggestions were going on through Summer 2007.
Trends were early evident: Candy-automats out of schools and healthy meal-arrangements in childrens institutions. Initiatives that motivate citizens to do more excercises/be more physical active. Increasing information about the existing possibilities.

The Health Policy was completed in Fall 2007! It led to different projects and initiatives, which will go on within the next years, e.g. Healthy lifestyle in childhood, Schools for different categories of patients (e.g. diabetes, rehabilitation of heart deseases).

Available files

Contact details

Birgit Dall Hersland
The Municipality of Vejle, Denmark

Data sources and references

Presentation at NB-AC Network Meeting in Turku 2007