Why are we doing this?

Improving the health of the population of Hampshire and reducing the unfair differences in health and wellbeing between population groups is vital. By acting now, we can address the building blocks for health, prevent the lives of those in poorest health being cut short and enable people to live healthier lives for longer.

We know actions that improve the health of our population will also have a positive impact on economic prosperity, tackling environmental pollution and climate change, and reducing demand for health and social care.

The Council and its partners’ Public Health Strategy presents an opportunity for the organisation to lead the transformation and actions necessary to improve health. It will also enable us to influence our partners across the county to fulfil their role in improving the health and wellbeing of residents.

The building blocks for health are the conditions in which we are born, grow, learn, live, work, relax and play. Actions to shape these factors, and our policies, services and partnerships will support people to maintain healthy behaviours and protect them from health risks and emergencies.

This also means seeking to reduce the prevalence of those conditions which contribute to us living longer in ill health, namely smoking, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, unhealthy weight, low physical activity and poor mental health.

The links between health and wealth are well documented, therefore this strategy aligns with the vision and strategic direction set out through the Hampshire 2050 Commission and other key strategies that shape Hampshire.

Drivers of ill health

Although Hampshire is generally a healthy place to live, not everyone enjoys the same level of good health. Recently we have seen that some people are dying earlier than they should be and the number of years they are living in good health is less than others in the county.

These unfair differences are linked to the conditions in which people are born, work and live. When we don’t have the things we need, like warm homes, healthy food, secure jobs and are constantly worrying about making ends meet, this puts a strain on our bodies. This leads to increased stress, poorer health, being unable to earn a living, needing more social care and dying earlier.

In Hampshire, excess weight, high blood sugar, smoking, alcohol and drug use, high blood pressure and air pollution account for 40% of the years lived in poorer health. Diagnosed mental health conditions are also a significant contributor, accounting for 14% of disability in Hampshire, with poor emotional health and wellbeing contributing to additional time spent in ill health on top of this.

The Global Burden of Disease Data for Hampshire (Fig.1) ranks the main health risk factors in comparison to South East England and England as a whole. These risk factors are described in disability-adjusted life years (DALYS) which are calculated from the number of healthy life years lost due to ill health and premature death caused by them.

Both sexes, all ages, 2019, disability-adjusted life year per 100,000 High rank Lower rank Hampshire SE England England Tobacco High fasting plasma glucose High body-mass index Dietary risks High blood pressure Alcohol use High low-density lipoprotein Occupational risks Non-optimal temperature Kidney dysfunction Air pollution Drug use Malnutrition Low physical activity Low bone mineral density Unsafe sex Other environmental Intimate partner violence Water, sanitation and hygiene 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 11 10 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 10 13 14 15 16 18 17 19 20 19 Childhood sexual abuse and bullying

Groups experiencing differences in their health compared to the general population, include people living in different areas and of different ethnicities, as well as those with learning disabilities, veterans and migrants. Inequalities also exist within other groups, for example, between men and women, urban and rural communities, and younger and older residents.

The consequences of unfair differences are that for some they are unable to get a job, access the support they need or be active in their communities – they become socially excluded.

Acting on the building blocks for health

We can make the biggest impact on people’s health by addressing the building blocks of health. These are things like the buildings, spaces and the natural environment around us, how we travel, the food we eat, the quality of education and work we do, and the money we have. They are also the homes we live in and the family, friends and communities we are part of.

The building blocks for health

The NHS and public health interventions can only go some way to improving health. We need to tackle these other wider factors, which are outside an individual’s control, but which hugely influence our health and wellbeing, and explain why it is not an equal playing field for all in Hampshire. Hampshire County Council, as an anchor institution, working with other similar organisations, is well positioned to use its assets and resources to impact on some of the building blocks that drive health and contribute to inequalities.

Healthy Places, Healthy People and Healthy Lives explain further how we are going to address the building blocks of health and make change happen.

Learn more about our specific public health duties

Like all upper tier local authorities in England, Hampshire County Council receives an annual ring-fenced Public Health grant from the Department of Health and Social Care, this must be used to deliver public health functions, including the following set of specific duties.

Hampshire County Council has a statutory duty to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. This includes a duty to commission certain services known as mandated services.

This is critically important in preventing ill-health and disability, which reduces the need for people to access health and social care and supports a vibrant community able to fulfil its potential. It cannot deliver this duty alone; it can only be delivered by working closely with our partners.

The Public Health team is responsible for providing data, intelligence, and public health leadership to inform, shape and deliver the work of the Hampshire Health and Wellbeing Board and the strategies of both Hampshire and Isle of Wight and Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care Systems.

The Director of Public Health must be assured that adequate arrangements are in place in the event of a health protection emergency, this has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic and extends to situations related to other infectious diseases and chemical or radiation hazards.

The Director of Public Health also has the responsibility to co-operate and work with the police, the probation service, and the prison service to assess the risks posed by violent or sexual offenders and put in place services to reduce these risks for residents.

Public Health has other responsibilities for commissioning mandated services including Sexual and Reproductive Health, Drugs and Alcohol treatment, School Nursing, Health Visiting, the National Childhood Measurement Programme and NHS Health Checks.