Under the new arrangement which will begin in August, the County Council will assume responsibility for the leadership and delivery of Public Health on the Island, overseeing a wide range of services. These include mandated services such as NHS Health Checks, the National Child Measurement Programme and appropriate access to sexual health assistance, as well as locally commissioned support including smoking cessation and the promotion of healthy weight programmes, drug and substance misuse services, plus mental wellbeing support.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, Councillor Judith Grajewski, said: “The go-ahead given this week by Hampshire’s Cabinet is the final step towards this new and exciting partnership arrangement between our two authorities, building on the already very successful one we have in place for the delivery of Children’s Services. We very much welcome this opportunity to work more closely with our Island partners to ensure the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes for local residents.”
The agreement between the two authorities was endorsed by the Isle of Wight Cabinet on 11 July 2019 who retain full political accountability for the service. The establishment of the partnership is also strongly supported by Public Health England.
At their meeting this week, the County Council’s Cabinet were also pleased to note the good progress being made in the delivery of Hampshire’s five year Public Health Strategy.
Key areas include:
• The work being undertaken with NHS Trusts to reduce the number of women smoking in pregnancy;
• Working closely with GP surgeries to re-position NHS Health Checks to focus on those most ‘at-risk’ of ill health;
• An increase in the numbers in treatment for both alcohol and drugs misuse following the introduction of new digital ways for people to connect with support, and the greater focus on children and families, as well as tailored services for people with both substance misuse and mental health conditions;
• The launch of a Falls Prevention programme which has seen the recruitment of 38 falls champions and 270 falls friends;
• A successful EU Mental Health bid to run a project to improve mental health in men and support suicide prevention.
Councillor Grajewski added: “Hampshire is a healthy place to live and people generally have good life expectancy, however the gap between how long people live and how long they live in good health is widening. Through the delivery of our public health priorities, we aim to tackle this – and I am pleased to be able to report some of the positive benefits being delivered, particularly in light of the financial challenges and increasing demand for services.”