Annual report shows Plymouth leading the way on health improvement

Dr Ruth Harrell, Plymouth’s Director of Public Health.

The new Director of Public Health Annual Report – which is going to Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet on 14 August – shows that Plymouth is leading the way on improving people’s health.

The report focuses on year three of Thrive Plymouth, the city’s ten year programme to improve health and reduce health inequalities, which has a different focus every year. The focus of year three was ‘Localising the One You campaign’ and the Council worked closely with Public Health England to ensure that the national One You campaign was embedded locally.

When One You was launched in March 2016 the aim was to get 1 million adults between 40 and 60 years old to engage with their health and use the ‘How Are You’ (HAY) online quiz app, with a high number of referrals from Plymouth (in the first three months of One You, 2,329 Plymouth residents completed the HAY quiz).

Given that One You and Thrive Plymouth identify four of the same priorities (smoking, eating, drinking and moving) it made sense to focus year three on One You. The Council worked in partnership with Livewell Southwest (who rebranded their wellbeing service as One You Plymouth) and the Plymouth Herald, as well as a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector partners, to maximise the impact of One You locally.

As a result of Thrive Plymouth year three activities:

  • 52 organisations in Plymouth joined the Thrive Plymouth Network
  • 20 local One You events took place
  • 80 tenants signed up to New Home, New You with Plymouth Community Homes
  • 360 people received training on One You wellbeing interventions

Dr Ruth Harrell, Director of Public Health with Plymouth City Council, said: “I’m pleased to present my Annual Report which describes and analyses the success of Thrive Plymouth year three.

“As a result of the work in year three, we have strengthened our links with Public Health England and have also developed a really active and engaged local network of organisations that regularly meet and take our health and wellbeing initiatives out into their communities.

“The report also showcases some fantastic case studies from Plymouth, from the work of Improving Lives Plymouth who support people with disabilities and long term conditions, to the New Home New You scheme for Plymouth Community Homes’ tenants, to Nature Plymouth and the work of Plymouth City Council’s libraries.

“There are still significant health challenges for Plymouth; including the fact that if you are born in the St Peter and the Waterfront area of Plymouth you can expect to live seven years less than if you are born in Plympton Chaddlewood, and this is linked to higher than average rates of smoking, drinking and obesity.

“So it’s important that, while we celebrate the fantastic work taking place in Plymouth to improve wellbeing, we recognise that there is still a lot to do.”

Following on from the success of year three this year (year 4) of Thrive Plymouth is focusing on mental wellbeing, using the Five Ways to Wellbeing while year 5 will focus on ‘People Connecting through Food’.