Public Health's function within the local authority aims to improve and protect the health of people in Stockton-on-Tees by helping them to live healthier and more fulfilling lives by making informed choices about their health. Public Health works with a range of partners both internal and external to the Council including those within the Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprise sectors to prevent ill health through a variety of approaches including action to address the wider determinants of health.
Stockton-on-Tees has wide inequalities in health outcomes such as life expectancy and healthy life expectancy across the Borough. Factors such as housing, employment, education and access to services have an impact on health and this highlights why Public Health needs to work across the system to improve health.
Apart from system leadership, the Public Health team undertake a number of core functions to keep residents healthy. This includes leading the production of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) which involves using Public Health skills in data analysis and creating intelligence from data to help inform strategic decisions and the allocation of resources. The Director of Public Health (DPH) is also a statutory member of the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) which leads on partnership action to improve health and reduce health inequalities through the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy. We also lead on assuring plans are in place to protect the health of the population together with plans on emergency preparedness. Public Health also works with health partners such as the North Tees Foundation Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group to help them to maximise their opportunities to improve health.
Public Health also commissions a range of services including drug and alcohol treatment services, stop smoking services, NHS health check programmes, sexual health services, oral health promotion services and Public Health services for children aged 0-19 (such as health visiting and school nursing). However, to significantly improve health and reduce inequalities in the long-term, action is required across the wider determinants of health such as social, cultural, employment, education and housing. Another function of Public Health is to ensure that we all maximise our own opportunities to improve health and everyone sees Public Health as their business.
The Public Health team aims to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of those who live and work in Stockton-on-Tees. We work with communities and a wide range of partners across the health and wellbeing system to identify and tackle factors which lead to poor health.
The Public Health team form an important part of the council’s infrastructure. We contribute to the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, a document outlining the strategic plan the local authority can use to tackle a specific health issue. We also contribute to the Health and Wellbeing strategy, which is a joint effort from multiple stakeholders to identify strategic priorities relating to health and wellbeing within Stockton-on-Tees.
We work with colleagues across the local authority to analyse local need, assess and apply Public Health research and seek opportunities to work effectively to prevent ill-health and/or to intervene early.
We have a duty to commission Public Health services and programmes such as the 0-19 service, sexual health service, drug and alcohol service, oral health promotion, the national child measurement programme and NHS health checks, as well as other services determined by local need such as warm homes health people, mental health training hub, better health at work, stop smoking services and weight management.