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Public health

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Public health

Public health


Barnsley MBC

Make Smoking Invisible

Smoking costs the Barnsley economy £78.2m a year, with early deaths losing 1,161 years of productivity, while 55,000 days are lost from smoking-related illness. Barnsley smokers spend £62m a year on tobacco, averaging £1,323 each. When the council took over public health in 2015 it decided to enforce smoke-free areas on the assumption that less visible smoking is also less convenient and normal. The council has made all 24 play parks smoke-free, and has made the Town Hall Centenary Square a smoke-free space. Barnsley believes it is the only council to enforce the 2015 legislation against smoking in cars by issuing fixed penalty notices.


Calderdale MBC

Staying Well in Calderdale

Staying Well was designed to explore the impact of bespoke, community-based interventions on the health and wellbeing of lonely and isolated older people and how doing this successfully could affect demand on primary care services. Four Staying Well workers were located in four voluntary sector community hubs, where they carried out face-to-face holistic and asset-based visits with older people. The Staying Well independent evaluation found that between November 2014 and April 2016, there were 779 people were referred to Staying Well, with 55% from the most deprived areas. Overall, the mean score for loneliness fell notably.


Cheshire Fire and Rescue and NHS England

Safe and Well Visits

The services worked with Public Health England, NHS England and Cancer Research UK to increase participation in the bowel cancer screening programme by using fire and rescue’s ‘safe and well’ visits to older people’s homes to impart information. Uptake has tended to be poorer in areas of high deprivation and ethnic diversity and in Cheshire and Merseyside 77% of general practices had participation rates lower than the national target of 60%. Safe and Well visits now offer traditional fire safety information and advice on falls prevention, support to stop smoking or reduce alcohol consumption and bowel cancer information has been added.


East Renfrewshire Council

Reducing Teenage Pregnancy

Auchenback had consistently above-average teenage pregnancy rates and accounted for 21% of East Renfrewshire’s teenage pregnancies. Combining data analysis and improvement science with community learning and development, and working with young parents and schools, the council has reduced the teenage pregnancy rate by 60%. East Renfrewshire now has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland and in Auchenback the percentage of first time mothers aged 19 or under has fallen from 22% to 9%. The programme identified high-risk young people early, improved service provision and programmes to prevent teenage pregnancy.


Essex CC

Tendring Mental Health Hub

Tendring’s Pier ward has the highest mental health need nationally and is the base of the Tendring Mental Health Hub. This addresses needs such as debt, housing and social support for people with severe mental health issues from a non-stigmatising shop front. It is managed by Citizens Advice and funded by Tendring DC, the NHS and police. By volunteering in the shop, clients engage with the public, building their self-confidence and skills. The cost of the service for each partner is only £20,000 and of supported volunteers attending this year, 12.5% achieved paid employment and 20% moved to work for mainstream charities.


North East Lincolnshire Council

Tackling Rogue Landlords

In North East Lincolnshire, 31% of households live on or below the low-income threshold and 16.6% of private housing stock is rented, though rental yield is 30% below the national average. Low housing demand gives landlords little incentive to make repairs, and more than 30 are considered ‘rogue’ with some 4,000 overcrowded properties. Operation Trawl was a multi-agency taskforce targeting them, led by council officers with police, fire and government agency support. It led to a landlord being fined £5,000 for a faulty alarm, the discovery of 27,000 illegal cigarettes in a property and other prosecutions. Three emergency prohibition notices were served and 11 prohibition orders.


Northumberland CC

Breastfeeding Initiative

When public health transferred to Northumberland in April 2013, the breastfeeding rates at 6-8 weeks mirrored the north-east rate of only 31.4 against an England average of 43.2. Breastfeeding is a child’s first immunisation and is widely recognised for reducing hospital admissions due to infections. It also enables early attachment between mother and child. A pathway was developed to provide breastfeeding support, which included invitations to workshops and one-to-one contact for those with specialist needs. Vulnerable women were visited on the postnatal ward and had follow-up home visits. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has achieved the Unicef Sustaining Breastfeeding Gold Award.


St Helens MBC

Oral Health St Helens

Oral health services moved to the council in April 2016 and it has acted to reduce dental health inequalities by examining the evidence base around behaviours and risk associated with poor oral health. A notable success has been embedding oral health into health and social care programmes based on five priorities: supervised tooth brushing scheme for young children; oral health promotion training for partner agencies; fluoride toothpaste distribution; helping vulnerable adults; and communicating oral health messages. Now, 96% of early years providers supply supervised brushing and 70,000 fluoride tooth brushing kits have been distributed to schools. There have also been 270 health professionals trained in oral health.


Sunderland City Council

Integrated Wellness Service

Live Life Well has been developed to provide a holistic approach to improving health through a mixed universal and targeted approach. The city’s health outcomes had been poor and the council decided to tackle these inequalities by targeting people with multiple risks. Its model is based on the premise that both geographical and identity communities can contribute to health and wellbeing with the right capacity building. Live Life Well co-ordinators have worked with 512 people in 2016-17, against 276 in 2015-16, while alcohol screenings have increased from 459 to 3,448 over the same period and stop smoking services have reached 8% of the smoking population, compared to 4.7% across England.


NICE logo

300 NICE logo

A word from the award’s sponsor

It is important for councils to show a return on the resources they invest in public health. Applying evidence-based solutions, such as NICE guidance, to reducing health inequalities and improving health can deliver significant social and economic benefits over the long term. We hope the innovative councils shortlisted for this award will inspire others in their work to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.



Phil Boorman, senior external communications manager, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

David Buck, senior fellow, King’s Fund

Sheena Ramsey, chief executive, Gateshead Council

Judith Richardson, deputy medical director and programme director - quality and leadership, NICE

Shaun Scrutton, managing director, Rochford DC



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