Directors of Public Health have a statutory requirement to write an annual report on the health and wellbeing of their population, and the local authority is required to publish it. This report is now presented to Council to note and comment on.
Councillor Les Caborn introduced this item thanking the Director of Public Health, Shade Agboola, and her team for their hard work over the last year. He commended the report adding that it is part of a suite of documents along with the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Covid-19 Recovery Plan. The use of case studies in the report was welcomed as was the focus on certain key areas such as self-harm, obesity, alcohol consumption and dementia. The role of the Adult Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee was recognised as was the importance of working in partnership.
Councillor Margaret Bell seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.
Councillor Keith Kondakor welcomed the report adding that attention should be paid not just to the homeless but also to those living in substandard accommodation. Mortality rates in Nuneaton and Bedworth remain very high. The causes of this phenomenon are well known. The Pandemic has not helped. Lockdown has led to weight increases and in many cases a general reduction in activity. Councillor Kondakor concluded by stating that it is important to deliver on reports such as the one before council. However, in order to do this it is important to have the funds.
Councillor Jill Simpson-Vince thanked the Public Health team, for their hard work. That they were able to produce an annual report as well as dealing with the Pandemic was remarkable. This view was echoed by Councillor Clare Golby.
Council agreed that the report should be included as part of the welcome pack for new members following the May 2021 elections.
Councillor Helen Adkins stated that the incidence of many serious health conditions including bowel cancer, diabetes, depression and self-harm made for harrowing reading. Austerity leads to health inequality she added. There is a need to invest in education, accommodation, employment opportunities and efforts to reduce child poverty. By reducing budgets people’s lives have been jeopardised. These views were echoed by Councillor Dave Parsons who further commended the report.
Councillor Kam Kaur (Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation) challenged the view that reductions in funding had had an impact on life expectancy. She stated that the Transformation Programme had enabled the council to continue to deliver good quality services even allowing for reductions in funding. Further, it had enabled the council to invest in the future.
Councillor Margaret Bell, who had seconded the motion, thanked the Director of Public Health for her report. The extensive use of data allows practitioners to see where resources should be targeted. It has shown the impact of the Pandemic and of the resulting lockdowns. Councillor Bell called for the development of a health inequalities action plan. In addition, any communications need to be tailored to meet the needs of the communities they are aimed at. Prevention is very important as is the need to signpost people to services. Portfolio Holder meetings have been very useful and need to continue she concluded.
In closing, Councillor Caborn stated that a new homelessness action plan is to be created. He also stated that there will be a health dashboard on the Power BI. Finally, it was noted that acute providers such as the South Warwickshire Foundation Trust have acknowledged the need to take full account of the Director of Public Health’s report when planning their own services.
A vote was held.
50 votes for the recommendation
0 votes against the recommendation
That Council supports the Director of Public Health Annual Report 2020/21