From 1 April 2013 Public Health functions and responsibilities transfered from the NHS to local authorities. This is an exciting time and opportunity for Torbay Council as it welcomes back Public Health which prior to 1974 was a local authority function.
Council services play a significant part in influencing how our health is affected in areas such as employment, education, the environment, transport and leisure.
Our vision for Public Health is ‘To improve and protect the people of Torbay’s health and to improve the health of the poorest, fastest’.
The council will take on the new Public Health responsibilities:
- Health Improvement - Encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles reduce inequalities in health and addressing the wide social factors that contribute to health and wellbeing
- Health Protection - Protecting people from infectious disease, environmental hazards and emergency planning functions
- Population Health - Supporting delivery of healthcare through evidence and statistical analysis.
Working with NHS Torbay we have put in place a transition plan to ensure the transfer of the public health staff and function to Torbay Council on 1 April 2013.
Who are the Public Health Team?
- The Director of Public Health (DPH) manages team of 12 clinical and non-clinical staff
- Commissioning functions include smoking, drugs and alcohol, sexual health, obesity, health protection, screening and infectious disease
- The team act as relationship managers between the local authority, NHS providers and clinical commissioning groups
- The team assess the evidence and statistics for interventions which will improve the health of the population
- They influence and commission local services which impact on health and wellbeing
- They work as part of the wider national Public Health service which includes Public Health England
- Frontline Public Health staff working in the community are employed by the provider NHS organisation ‘Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust.
We face a number of Public Health Challenges in Torbay including;
- A gap in life expectancy of six years between those people living in more deprived wards to those in the least deprived wards
- A gap in disability free life expectancy of nine years - people in poorer communities die earlier but live longer with a disability
- The cost of inequality in illness including lost taxes, welfare payments, NHS healthcare costs = £75 to 80m per year
- Abortion rates among under 25s continues to be high
- Alcohol – culture of sustained and increasing volumes of drinking (not just ‘binge’)
- Smoking and breastfeeding in pregnancy – particularly among under 25s, is low in comparison to other areas and national averages
- Obesity – rising levels of overweight and obese children and adults
- Flu immunisations in the over 65s and those in clinical risk group who are under 65
- Dental decay and wider inequalities
Helping people in Torbay who drink to do so responsibly and information on local support services.
Stopping people in Torbay from taking up smoking and helping more people to quit
Helping people in Torbay make a full recovery from drug addiction and discouraging people from misusing illegal drugs in the first place.
Protecting the health of the people in Torbay by helping to prevent threats arising and ensuring appropriate responses when things do go wrong.
Promoting sexual well-being in Torbay through early diagnosis, treatment and control of sexually transmitted infections.
Helping people in Torbay to be more active and to eat healthily, and it’s making sure they get the right support to lose weight.
Support for schools throughout Torbay in adopting the Healthy Schools approach designed by the Department for Education.