A new report which sets out the health issues facing North Yorkshire’s communities and outlines plans for how to tackle them has been launched today.
The report is the second Annual Report of the Director of Public Health since North Yorkshire County Council took responsibility for public health functions in April 2013. The report has been produced by Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, working in partnership with colleagues at North Yorkshire County Council and with voluntary organisations, charities and community groups throughout the county.
Dr Sargeant said: North Yorkshire is great place to live with our beautiful coast and countryside, market towns and rural communities, but there are also health and social challenges that we have to deal with.
We have to make sure that we have the services and skills in place to look after all our residents, and future-proof ourselves for the public health challenges ahead. North Yorkshire County Council cannot do this on its own.
In 2014 communities across North Yorkshire welcomed the Tour de France and made the Grand Depart a resounding success. This new report explains how we can work with public and voluntary partners and our communities to match that success in promoting the health and wellbeing of our residents.
The report highlights the key health and lifestyle challenges facing the County Council and its partners:
Higher rates of road injuries and deaths, obesity in adults and smoking in pregnancy than the national average
A widening gap between life expectancy across the county – from the highest in Hambleton to the lowest in Scarborough
An aging population, with the number of people over 85 set to increase by a third over the next ten years
Issues around the availability of affordable housing, fuel poverty and rural isolation
The report goes on to explain how these and other significant health issues need be tackled through a coordinated approach between partner organisations including the voluntary sector working closely with communities. In the coming year initiatives will include:
- Developing and supporting services to promote the health and wellbeing of children
- Developing a mental health strategy to ensure residents of all ages can get help and support when needed
- Ensuring help is available to let residents maintain their independence though health and social care services tailored to local needs
- Implementing an alcohol strategy which addresses the harms associated with binge drinking and other risky drinking behaviours.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for public health and prevention, said: Every community has a range of resources or assets that can be maximised to meet local needs and challenges. We are very aware, however, that voluntary action and volunteering do not come free and the County Council and its partners are committed to working with the voluntary sector and local communities to make the most effective use of our valuable community assets.
The publication of the report comes as the County Council is launching a pilot campaign to raise awareness of the health harms of smoking in pregnancy. The pilot is running in the Scarborough area and campaign material includes leaflets, advertisements on Yorkshire Coast Radio and social media messages, all designed to help mums to be – and parents and carers of young children – know what the dangers are and what free help there is.
The full report can be downloaded from the North Yorkshire Partnerships website http://www.nypartnerships.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=29581