Director of Public Health annual report 2018

Public Health: Back to the future – please tell us what you think

We would like to know what you think the most important public health issues are for people in North Yorkshire.

It is five years since North Yorkshire County Council took on public health responsibilities from the National Health Service. This year’s Director of Public Health Report will be a record of the collective work we have done so far across the county and look at what we need to achieve together over the next seven years.

We would like you to tell us what you think our public health priorities should be so we can feed them into our vision for the future health and wellbeing of people in North Yorkshire. There is some background information below about the health of the population of North Yorkshire and what we have done so far.


What makes us healthy?

Public health means more than providing health services. It focuses on improving healthy life expectancy and also looks at what can be done to narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy experienced by the most and least deprived communities in North Yorkshire.

This diagram shows what influences our health and wellbeing. This includes education, employment and income.   

What makes us healthy_0.jpg

What do we know about the health of people in North Yorkshire?

  • People in North Yorkshire are living longer than before. That means they have the potential to enjoy more years of healthy, active life if they help themselves and the people around them. It also means that they may need more help as they get older so they can be as healthy and independent as possible.
  • North Yorkshire has more people aged over 50 and fewer children and people under 50, compared with England and the Yorkshire region. The county has the seventh highest proportion of older people in England, making up 23.3% of the total North Yorkshire population compared with 17.7% across England. North Yorkshire also has fewer young working age people than the England average, partly due to people retiring to the area and house prices being unaffordable.
  • The chart below shows that the number of people aged under 45 is expected to remain much the same. However, there will be a decrease in adults aged 45-64 and a sharp increases in people of retirement age, particularly aged over 85. We also know that this age group is at higher risk of diseases such as cancers; circulatory diseases like stroke; dementia; arthritis; and diabetes.  Catterick Garrison is expecting a further 2,700 personnel by 2030.  With additional family members, this could increase the population to 16,800, comparable with Ripon and Northallerton in size.

Forecast population change_0.jpg

  • Generally, people in North Yorkshire are in good health, but there are some areas where residents’ health and wellbeing are not so good. This includes people living in Scarborough borough, where life expectancy at birth for men is significantly lower than national average. There are higher levels of childhood poverty and young people do not do so well at school. Overall, life expectancy is highest in the least deprived areas. 
  • In some areas there are also groups of people who experience poorer health. These include some people who use drugs, alcohol and tobacco and people who live in more deprived communities.
  • In North Yorkshire, there are significantly more people killed and seriously injured on the roads, more women who smoke when pregnant and fewer children who are “school ready” (socially, physically and intellectually) compared with other areas. Further information can be found at PHE - Public Health Dashboard


Healthy life expectancy.JPG


Blue arrows = men

Pink arrows = women

This diagram shows the wards (council areas) in North Yorkshire with the highest and lowest life expectancy (LE) and healthy life expectancy (HLE). The arrows show that both healthy life expectancy and life expectancy is much shorter for men and women in some wards. For example, women living in Richmondshire’s Scotton ward have a 14.8 year shorter life expectancy than women living in Harrogate’s Claro ward.


These variations are called health inequalities and they don’t always remain the same. In North Yorkshire, inequality in life expectancy for women is increasing in Scarborough, but remains the same or is decreasing in other districts.


The Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire’s 2018 annual report is looking back at the previous five annual reports which form a series each with a different theme:

  • 2013 What is public health?
  • 2014 Working with communities: Taking an asset-based approach to public health
  • 2015 The health of our children, growing up healthy in North Yorkshire
  • 2016 Good work, good for you, good for business: The health and wellbeing of the working age population
  • 2017 Healthy transitions: Growing old in North Yorkshire.

To view the reports visit


Each report made key recommendations and examples of progress against these recommendations include:


  • Setting up the Living Well service to help people to maintain their health and independence;
  • Developing the Stronger Communities programme to support communities to create local solutions for health and wellbeing services;
  • Developing a range of multi-agency strategies covering alcohol, mental health, winter health, tobacco control, healthy weight healthy lives, breastfeeding and road safety strategy;
  • Selby and Scarborough trails to encourage walking and cycling;
  • Commissioning support services including weight management, smoking cessation, drug and alcohol, sexual health, winter health, health checks, oral health and better services in pharmacies and GPs surgeries;
  • Improving the Healthy Child Programme (including initiatives to address childhood obesity);
  • Developing the schools mental health and wellbeing programme;
  • Cascading Making Every Contact Count (MECC) training to a wide range of
    people working in health services;
  • Creation of a North Yorkshire workplace wellbeing charter
  • Working to develop around healthier food outlets;
  • Planning the development of age-friendly communities.

Next step

We would like you to think about what we have said about the health of people in North Yorkshire and the work communities, partners and public health have done so far. What do you think our focus should be between now and 2025? What do you think the priority areas for public health should be?



  1. What do you see as the priorities for public health in North Yorkshire between now and 2025?
  2. What role can you or your organisation play to improve public health in North Yorkshire?
  3. What are the any barriers and opportunities to this work?

You can share your views by: