Notts health services to be taken on by councils

THE majority of public health services in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City will come under the responsibility of the respective county and city councils from 1st April this year.

The move will allow public health staff, who are transferring from the health service, to work more closely with teams within the councils – such as social care and special educational needs teams.

Public health focuses on three areas of work, including health improvement including contributing to increased life expectancy and healthier lifestyles as well as reducing inequalities in health, health services including assisting others who provide services to understand the health profiles and health needs of the local population and plan services to meet those needs and health protection work around threats from environmental hazards, infectious diseases or radiation.

Key challenges include reducing smoking, alcohol and drug misuse, obesity and sexually transmitted infection rates and increasing physical activity in the local population.

In Nottinghamshire and Nottingham city, a decision has been made by the city and county councils to appoint a single director of public health and for the two public health departments to work closely together.

Dr Chris Kenny, director of public health Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City, said: “The move will enable us to work more closely with staff across the county and city councils so that we can determine which local areas have the greatest need.

“For example, our latest research shows that the level of obesity in the county is highest in Ashfield, Mansfield and Bassetlaw, while we know that on average people in some parts of Nottingham City are living ten years less than people in other communities.

“Council services relating to education, social care, employment, the environment, transport and planning are linked to people’s life expectancy and their overall health and wellbeing so it makes sense to include public health as a key responsibility.

“We can then work together to focus the funding and services in the right place to help improve health across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.”

Health and wellbeing boards have also been set up in both the city and the county to drive the process forward and to take key decisions regarding priorities to improve the health and wellbeing of their populations.