Welcome from Jim McManus, Director of Public Health
After a bit of a hiatus, we are having a fresh start with our Public Health e-newsletter to let you know what we’re doing. It’s been a busy time in Hertfordshire.
District and Borough councils have been producing health plans, working on a range of initiatives.
The Womens Tour alone showed what agencies in Hertfordshire are capable of, and we still have the Mens Tour in September.
The NHS and a range of partners have agreed to a whole system approach to self-management in chronic disease, which Public Health will lead us on, and a range of partners are awaiting the report on how we build a commissioning framework for sport and physical activity, led by Cllr Teresa Heritage’s Lifestyle and Legacy Partnership and delivered through the support of CLOA (The Chief Leisure Officers’ Association) and Sport England.
National Review of drug and alcohol services
Public Health England, with the Association of Directors of Public Health, has undertaken a national review of drug and alcohol services, which I and my opposite number for Blackpool, Arif Rajpura, were the lead directors of Public Health for. This report is about to be published as I write, and it shows that local authorities have taken the opportunity of transfer of Public Health to look at transformation of drug and alcohol services to meet the new potential to help people recover, not just lift and shift. Having undertaken a major reorganisation of drug and alcohol treatment and care into one service, we are now focusing on quality, outcomes and engagement to meet the national recovery agenda. We have much work still to do, but the findings from our national benchmarking on outcomes, and from CQC inspections and user engagement, shows we are moving in the right direction.
Physical Activity and Year of Cycling
We’ve seen some major cycling events this year in Broxbourne, Welwyn and Hatfield, Watford and Stevenage to name just a few, and much more to come including the Mens Tour in Dacorum in September. We relaunched the cycling forum with an energy which was palpable and we seem to be in the middle of the cycling buzz.
The Year of cycling is just the start of a major three year cultural push on physical activity and getting our county moving. Physical activity is mother nature’s way of keeping us healthy, said Mike Kelly of NICE recently. And he’s right. A report due out shortly from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges will summarise the evidence for physical activity in one place, and it has been a joy to serve on the committee working with Dr Scarlett McNally, the lead on this, not least because we’ve been able to check what we do here against her insightful and helpful leadership.
As we look towards the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Development Conference on 10th September, we are well into the year of cycling, more and more of our District and Borough Councils are being successful in Sport England funding and our sustainable transport team have been nominated for the National Transport Award for promoting cycling to children. Jez Cox, who has a national and international reputation in cycling, has come to work with us because he wants to put cycling in Hertfordshire on the map. Revision of maps, new cycling app, new policies on events and community cycling events from the police, districts and county and a new approach to making cycling an everyday part of life are all part of our efforts. Watch out for cycling on referral schemes, and a new network of pit stops in Hertfordshire where retailers and coffee shops welcome cyclists; they will even have a spare pump and repair kit on hand as part of making cycling the thing to do.
Public Health Services for a new world
We are making significant efforts to improve the health of the public:
- Over 3,000 adults are now using our weight management service. Given that this was only launched and commissioned last year I think this is an achievement
- We will roll out new weight management services for children soon
- For the first time ever we are on track with NHS health checks. We have gone from being eigth poorest in the country for numbers offered to being on track. Our next focus is to ensure we get the quality and the aftercare to be the very best we can get it to be.
- We are embarking on the major modernisation of sexual health services across the County. These services see around 60,000 people a year, so it’s important we get these right
So, we have lots of work still to do to get to where we want to be.
Still to come
- We are working on the pharmaceutical needs assessment currently, which NHS England will use to determine the future configuration and commissioning of all pharmacies serving our County
- We are working on a public mental health plan for children and young people
- As part of our sexual health strategy a sexual health promotion plan is being developed
- Working with LGBT communities we are developing an LGBT plan
- We are working with Diabetes UK on BME early detection of diabetes, and self-care for diabetes
- We have kicked off the Hertfordshire Faith Forum with a discussion about public health at its first meeting
We still have much more to do. We are working with the Sports Partnership on disabled peoples’ access to physical activity and sport and some of our Healthwatch volunteers and districts are doing great stuff on this. But we must do better overall.
Changes to our team
Lastly, we are once again, finally nearly at full capacity as a team, and we will have some new people joining us. We will in our next issue produce a guide to who does what in our team.
Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire