Public Health seeks to support everyone to live happy and healthy lives by protecting individuals and local communities from illness and environmental hazards and promoting good health by encouraging individuals themselves to adopt healthy behaviours.
The overarching vision for the practice of public health is to improve and protect the nation's health and wellbeing, and improve the health of the poorest fastest. There are two key outcomes measures for the whole public health system:
- Increased healthy life expectancy, i.e. taking account of the health quality as well as the length of life; and
- Reduced differences in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy between communities (through greater improvements in more disadvantaged communities).
Improving public health in North Yorkshire and reducing health inequalities
Public health describes our collective organised efforts to improve and protect the health of everyone in North Yorkshire by putting wellbeing at the heart of everything we do to enable each person to live healthier, happier lives.
As a result of the Health and Social Care Act (2012), many Public Health responsibilities were transferred from the NHS to Local Government and as a result North Yorkshire County Council now fulfils the role of a Public Health Authority. This means that it has a responsibility to:
- Improve the health and wellbeing of the population of North Yorkshire,
- Prevent disease and minimise its consequences, and,
- Prolong valued life and reduce inequalities in health.
More information about Local Government responsibilities for Public Health can be found here.
Work by Sir Michael Marmot in his "Fair Society, Healthy Lives" report detailed the impact that wider determinants have on the health and wellbeing of the population. The report reiterated that there is a social gradient in health, i.e. the lower the social position, the worse a person's health. However, focussing solely on the most disadvantaged will not reduce health inequalities sufficiently. Marmot suggests that action must be universal, but with a scale and intensity that is proportionate to the level of disadvantage.
The six policy objectives to reduce health inequalities recommended by the Marmot report are:
- Give every child the best start in life;
- Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control of their lives;
- Create fair employment and good work for all;
- Ensure a healthy standard of living for all;
- Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities; and
- Strengthen the role and impact of ill health prevention.
Health in North Yorkshire is generally much better than the England average; however there are significant inequalities between communities in our County. Detailed information about the health of North Yorkshire's residents is available in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (see below). County and District Health Profiles are also available to view here.
A public health outcomes framework has been published which sits alongside the NHS and adult social care outcomes frameworks. North Yorkshire County Council and the health and wellbeing board are expected to demonstrate progress against these measures.
Health and Wellbeing Board
The Health and Wellbeing Board, which works to improve public health in North Yorkshire through effective integrated working between commissioners of health, public health and social care services, has been established to develop robust strategies and implement Public Health work across the county. More information about the Health and Wellbeing Board can be found here.
North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy
The North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy is produced by the Health and Wellbeing Board and explains what health and wellbeing priorities the board has set, in order to tackle the needs identified in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (see below). It is not about taking action on everything at once, but about setting priorities for joint action and making a real impact on people's lives. The North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy can be accessed here.
Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)
Working in partnership with community and voluntary sector service users and NHS Partners, the council, as a public health authority, is required to produce a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), which provides a comprehensive local picture of population health and wellbeing needs. It also supports and encourages organisations to work together when developing services. Production of the JSNA is the responsibility of North Yorkshire's health and wellbeing board, a formal committee of North Yorkshire County Council. It provides essential input to the development by the board of North Yorkshire's joint health and wellbeing strategy. North Yorkshire’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) can be accessed here.