The latest annual report from South Gloucestershire’s Director of Public Health, Professor Mark Pietroni, describes work over the past year to help support the best health outcomes for everyone living in South Gloucestershire and sets out priorities for the coming year.
This year’s report describes the fact that South Gloucestershire is generally a healthy place to live, with almost all sets of data indicating better outcomes than the national and regional averages. It also highlights three ‘2020 Challenges’ that once achieved will help to further improve people’s health.
This year’s report also provides updates on steps taken in South Gloucestershire to respond to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health ‘State of Child Health Report’ published in January.
Nationally there is a clear link between people’s health outcomes and educational achievements and their income levels. While poverty is lower in South Gloucestershire than in many other areas, those who are living with less have measurably poorer health.
The report sets out three ‘2020 Challenges’, which the Public Health Division and key partners and service providers in the area will work to achieve, so that a range of health indicators and people’s lived experience can improve. They are to:
- Achieve a 20 per cent reduction in child poverty by 2020
- Increase the number of mothers who breastfeed by 20 per cent by 2020
- Reduce by 20 per cent the gap in educational attainment between the rich and the poor children in South Gloucestershire by 2020
Work towards achieving these goals will take place across council services, but they will all contribute to better public health.
An example of the way in which services across the council can effectively work together to support families in need, is the ActivePlay scheme. This allows lower income families or those with children with disabilities to get vouchers for their children to use South Gloucestershire sports and leisure facilities. Families can be referred to the scheme by health visitors, school nurses, children’s centre staff or the council 0-25 service.
You can read or download the full report online at www.southglos.gov.uk//documents/941DoPH-Report2017.pdf. It includes a digest of key health indicators and performance for South Gloucestershire, as well as how it compares to both national and regional trends.
South Gloucestershire’s Director of Public Health, Professor Mark Pietroni, says in his introduction to the report that: “The evidence is overwhelming that children who don’t have a good start in life have worse health and other outcomes when they get older. It is also very clear that the best value for money comes from interventions targeted at young children. This is a case of being the right thing to do as well as the best way to spend the public resources.
“In South Gloucestershire by and large our population outcomes are good. However, there are issues that we need to address. For example the numbers of children living in poverty.”
Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Public Health, Councillor Erica Williams, said: “The role of our public health team covers a wide range of topics, including tackling obesity, reducing smoking and helping mothers to breastfeed their new-borns to give them the best possible start in life. The Public Health team has had made a significant contribution to our continued high performance on a range of indicators, which show that people in South Gloucestershire are generally healthy and have good outcomes relative to national and local trends.
“What is demonstrated clearly in this report is that the things that affect our health and achievements in life is not the responsibility of one department. That’s why I am pleased to endorse the idea of the whole council working hard, together, to meet the 2020 Challenges.”