Report of the Director of Public Health
The Director of Public Health submitted a report (previously circulated) to provide an update of the Children and Young People Public Health interventions and programs namely the Healthy Lifestyles Survey 2021, Children’s Health Profile for Darlington and the 0-19 Service.
It was reported that the Healthy Lifestyles Survey has been delivered for 12 years with a total of up to 8,624 pupils across 33 primary and secondary schools completing the survey annually; the survey of 2021 was the first full survey completed following the pandemic and included some specific topics and questions that had been developed and agreed by young people, schools and other professionals to reflect the impact of the pandemic on young people; and results from the survey can be fed back to young people so that they are aware and understand the lifestyle and behaviour choices of their peers and can use this to inform their own choices and decisions.
The Child Health Profile is produced annually by Public Health England (now Office of Health Improvement and Disparities OHID) for every local authority area in England and provides a snapshot of child health in this area. It is designed to help the Authority; health services and other stakeholders improve the health and wellbeing of children and target Public Health interventions that can improve child health at a local level.
It was reported that the profile for Darlington this year when compared to the England averages showed that the health and wellbeing of children in Darlington was mixed and some key indicators such as breastfeeding, smoking in pregnancy and obesity were worse compared to England; whilst other indicators such as vaccination uptake, admission to hospital for common health conditions being better or similar when compared to England.
With regard to the 0-19 Service, provided by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, this continues to perform well, achiever well against the statutory and contract performance targets and the service continues to receive positive feedback from parents and carers and other users of the service.
It was also reported that the Service had continued innovative work in relation to infant feeding and introduced new interventions including new ante natal virtual sessions, training for staff and peer supporters and also more collaborative working with Family Centres; has worked towards reaccreditation for the UNICEF Gold Baby Friendly award; continued work with schools including a new ‘drop in’ offer to schools post pandemic and close working and liaison with specialist mental health teams in Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Mental Health Trust; and the Service continued to enhance and improve the digital offer which proved to be very successful during the pandemic and lockdown.
Members questions to the Public Health Specialist related in particular to smoking and vaping; increasing obesity rates locally and how Public Health comment on future use in terms of planning applications for takeaways within Darlington; the impact of obesity especially in the disadvantaged areas; Public Health input towards the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Document; and how the Healthy Lifestyles Survey is completed within schools and if the survey was representative of all schools within the borough.
The Public Health Specialist advised Members that the function of Public Health was to advise on all policies although in relation to planning there were limitations on the Director of Public Health intervention by national legislation.
Members also requested that they receive more specific data, especially in relation to the Healthy Lifestyles Survey compared to national data.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted.