Director’s welcome from Jim McManus
Welcome to the January edition of Public Health eNews, I hope you all had a restful break and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2018!
With the cold-snap we experienced in the lead up to Christmas, there was a lot of publicity about our Stay Well This Winter campaign and the new Hertfordshire Warmer Homes project.
We must not take our foot off the gas with these issues, as in Hertfordshire over 32,000 homes are estimated to live in fuel poverty and between August 2013 and July 2016 there were 1795 excess winter deaths in the county. Please do continue promoting the Hertfordshire Warmer Homes scheme and providing information to residents about how they can help themselves to stay healthy and well this winter. More information is available in the health and wellbeing section.
Across the country, the NHS is under extreme pressure. Our health colleagues are reporting significant pressures and have issued requests to keep A&E free for genuine emergencies. People who have an urgent need for medical advice have three options:
- Speak to a local pharmacist; many pharmacies have private consulting rooms
- Call NHS 111 – a free 24/7 service accessible from any phone, where you can get advice over the phone from a range of clinicians
- Consult the online NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk
A more detailed update is available in the Health and Wellbeing section.
This month sees the official launch of Hertfordshire’s inaugural Year of Physical Activity, where we will be putting a real focus on getting Hertfordshire’s residents moving! The year is a chance to celebrate what the county has to offer to help our residents lead healthy lives and encourage people from all walks of life to “Move More, Feel Great!” More information is available in the campaigns section.
Of course, we have seen the usual flurry of public health campaigns that the New Year always heralds. Dry January is in full swing and Public Health England (PHE) has launched its Health Harms stop smoking campaign and the Change4life 100 calorie snack campaign with the new improved food scanner app. Resources for both are available in the PHE Campaign Resource Centre.
Finally, in the last newsletter I mentioned a new partnership campaign that launches this month. #JustTalk is a youth mental health campaign that aims to break down the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health issues in young people, particularly boys, as evidence shows that there are a number of social and cultural barriers that prevent boys and men in particular from opening up on the topic of mental health.
We’d love your help to promote and share this campaign as widely as possible in the community. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved here.
As always, we hope this newsletter is useful and welcome feedback and contributions from you all. To send in articles, comments or requests simply email the editor.
Jim McManus Hertfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health