Plymouth’s latest Local Health Profile has been published by Public Health England. These give an outline of health and wellbeing issues across each local authority in England, and an opportunity to see how Plymouth’s health is faring compared with the rest of the country.
They are designed to help local government and health services identify problems and decide how to tackle them to improve health and reduce health inequalities. In addition to traditional ‘health’ issues, the profiles include more general wellbeing indicators such as levels of poverty, educational attainment and unemployment.
The good news is that, the 2015 profiles show that Plymouth has improved in a number of areas since the 2014 profiles were published. These include reductions in teenage conception rates, hospital stays for self-harm and the number of new mums who were smokers at the time of delivery. Plymouth is also doing better than the England average in areas including long-term unemployment, levels of diabetes, and road safety.
Sue McDonald, Plymouth City Council Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health, said: “We welcome the publication of the Local Health Profile for Plymouth which gives us a useful snapshot of health issues in Plymouth and helps us to identify or confirm Public Health priorities for the city.
“The areas where Plymouth is ‘worse’ than England average, for example in smoking prevalence and alcohol related hospital stays for young people, confirm once again the public health priorities the Council had already identified as part of our ten year Thrive Plymouth programme.”
Professor Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health for Plymouth City Council, said: “Under Thrive Plymouth we are working to tackle the four lifestyle behaviours – smoking, excessive drinking, inactivity and an unhealthy diet- that together lead to four chronic diseases – cancer, stroke, heart disease and respiratory disease – that together, account for 54 per cent of deaths in Plymouth.
“By addressing these four big killers that account for more than half of deaths in Plymouth, we hope to close the gap which currently sees Plymouth have lower life expectancy than the England average.”
“During the first year of Thrive Plymouth we have been working with local employers in Plymouth to help tackle these issues, and during the second year we will be working with schools.”
The Council, in line with other local authorities, took on responsibility for commissioning public health services from PCTs in 2013. The Council’s Public Health Directorate commissions these services from a range of providers including Plymouth Community Healthcare and a number of local public, private and charitable organisations. But there are limited funds to do this and Plymouth City Council is currently lobbying the Government for fairer funding for Public Health.
Councillor Sue McDonald said: “In addition to our current work to improve the public health of people living in Plymouth and reduce health inequalities, we will continue as a Council to lobby central Government for fairer funding to address our missing millions.
“The allocation of public health settlements is blatantly unfair and historically Plymouth has been under-funded for Public Health compared to other areas. For example, for 2015-2016, Plymouth’s Public Health allocation per head is £47, compared with £77 for Portsmouth and £67 for Brighton and Hove and £66 for Bristol, even though these areas are comparable in terms of public health issues. It is even more absurd when you consider that Kensington and Chelsea receive £136 per head for Public Health.
“Plymouth received £43 per head in 2013/14 and £47 per head in 2014/15, compared to target figures of £55 and £57 per head respectively. This means Plymouth was underfunded by £12 per head in 2013/14 and £11 per head in 2014/15. For 2015/16 Plymouth is still underfunded by £11 per head and once again we need to address our poor public health outcomes with an allocation that is approximately £3m less than the target allocation.”
You can view the latest Health Profiles online here.
The Local Health Profiles give 32 different health and wellbeing ‘indicators’ which help show the difference between Plymouth and the England average. Of these 32 indicators, there are four where Plymouth’s value is better than the England average (colour coded green). These are:
- Long-term unemployment
- Recorded diabetes
- Incidence of TB
- Serious road injuries and deaths
There are also 13 indicators where Plymouth’s value is not significantly different to the England average (colour-coded amber). These include:
- Statutory homeless
- Smoking status at time of delivery
- Obese and excess weight in adults
- Excess winter deaths
There are also 13 indicators where Plymouth’s value is worse than the England average (colour-coded red). These include:
- Smoking prevalence in adults
- Under-18 alcohol-specific stays
- Early deaths (under 75 years) from cancer
- Incidence of malignant melanoma