Annual Public Health Report focuses on fairness, equality and justice

Annual Public Health Report

Posted on: 12 July 2016

This year’s Annual Public Health Report highlights the importance of the health of the public in our society and its links to fairness, equality and justice.

In Devon the health of the public is generally very good, both in terms of national comparisons and with similar geographic areas, but as indicated by the Devon Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), there are areas of concern.

Some of the main challenges facing Devon include population growth and ageing, fuel poverty, housing quality and affordability, access to health services and sizeable differences in life expectancy and health status between areas.

Devon’s Director of Public Health, Dr Virginia Pearson, said: “We need to address health inequality and continue to reduce the gap between the health of the best off and the worst-off in Devon.

“There is an ever growing emphasis on people taking greater responsibility for their own health. This plays a large part of what is necessary to prevent deterioration in health and decline in independence in the later years of life. A balance needs to be struck between early intervention for long-term conditions and not over-diagnosing or over-treating people’s health conditions – which is why the regular surveillance of health outcomes and disease trends is so important.”

The Annual Public Health Report, being presented to Devon County Council’s Cabinet tomorrow (Wednesday 13 July), highlights areas where improvements could be made to reduce obesity and improve oral health in adults and children, lower the level of alcohol consumption, tackle social isolation and poor mental health and prevent violence and abuse.

DevonAndrea_Davis-100x100 County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Chairman of Devon’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Andrea Davis, said:  “We’re very lucky here in Devon that we’re more likely to enjoy a longer, healthy life.  However, there are pockets of economic and social inequality, and our aim is to bring these areas into line with the rest of the county.

 “We need to continue to look at how we can work alongside our partners, both within the council and beyond.

“Devon receives just £38 a head for public health compared to the national average of £62, so we must ensure every penny spent results in the best health and wellbeing outcomes for our residents, particularly those in the greatest need.”

Profiles are available for the different area types in Devon, including local authority districts; clinical commissioning group areas; community health and social care teams, Devon towns, electoral divisions, and smaller and larger community areas in Devon.

A deprivation report has been completed which compares the indicators in the JSNA profiles according to levels of deprivation locally, revealing the impact of deprivation on health and wellbeing, and highlighting how these patterns are changing.  The profiles will be updated twice annually with the next update due in autumn 2016.

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