Council to reshape services to improve public health

Coun Susan Dungworth
Coun Susan Dungworth
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Northumberland County Council is adopting a fresh approach to the way it funds and manages its public-health functions as it works to improve the health and wellbeing of residents across the county and reduce health inequalities.

As we reported last month, the way that the council funds and manages the likes of smoking and drug misuse services is set to change from April 2017.

A report, approved by the decision-making cabinet last week, set out proposals for three key programmes – the Drug and Alcohol Misuse Treatment Service, the Public Health Service for 0-19 years and an Integrated Wellbeing Service.

Each programme will integrate several services into one. For example, the smoking cessation service will be integrated into the wellbeing service and school nursing will be integrated into the 0-19 service.

The authority will also be moving to a more community-based approach to prevent ill health by improving health and wellbeing. This will involve working with local people to identify what is important to them and supporting them to build on and develop initiatives that help people lead healthy lives and stay well, rather than focusing on what makes people ill.

Coun Susan Dungworth, cabinet member for adult care and public health, said: “Improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities are key priorities for us and many of the solutions can be found within our communities.”