Agenda item

Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy

To receive a presentation from the Director of Public Health and Assistant Chief Executive providing a progress report on the process for developing a new Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy focussed on addressing health inequalities.


The Board received a comprehensive presentation on work being undertaken to develop a new Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy focussed on addressing health inequalities.


The Board were presented with an analysis of what inequalities were. It was stated that inequalities were unfair and avoidable differences in socioeconomic circumstances across the population, and between different groups within society. They involved differences in health status, behavioural risks, wider determinants of health, access to care and quality and experience of care. 


An officer working group had been established, under the direction of the Chair of the Board, to co-ordinate the work to develop a new Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy.


As part of this work an impact analysis had been undertaken of the direct and indirect impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Board were presented with the findings to emerge from this analysis. There had been multiple impacts on communities both direct from the burden of disease and mortality and the indirect effects of the response to the pandemic and the control measures that had been put in place. The Covid-19 pandemic and wider governmental and societal response had exacerbated some of health and wider inequalities already in existence at a national and local level. Due to their nature, these inequalities often overlapped and became more pronounced. Evidence suggested that those people who were least able to deal with the impact of the pandemic had been hit the hardest.


The Board were also presented with a summary of the evidence base which had been compiled for tackling inequalities. Particular reference was made to the ‘Marmot Approach’ proposed by the Institute of Health Equity and considered to be the most current, comprehensive and robust evidence base. The evidence indicated that inequalities arise because of the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. An inequalities strategy would need to take account of all of this, not just the visible consequences. A collaborative approach and action was needed across the whole of society and across the whole of the life course. It was suggested that the framework for a strategy should be in line with the Marmot approach and the six Marmot policy objectives with universal action that is at a scale and intensity, appropriate to the level of disadvantage and need.


Further work to profile current activity and approaches in the borough to tackle inequalities was underway and a consultation and engagement plan was in place, including use of the annual State of the Area Event in October. Once this work was complete a draft strategy would be presented to the next meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board in November.


The Board considered the plans to engage with hard to reach communities both during the development of the strategy and beyond when identifying the deliverables and formulating action plans. 


In noting the startling impact of Covid-19 so far in North Tyneside, Board Members discussed the preparedness of local systems should a further wave of infections and restrictions occur. A number of key lessons had been learned throughout the past 18 months, particularly in relation to care homes and schools, and these lessons needed to be captured to ensure that the experience placed the system in a stronger position to deal with any future emergencies. Healthwatch North Tyneside had collated a lot of evidence relating to people’s experiences of the pandemic which could help inform such an exercise. The Board acknowledged that much of the impact of Covid-19 was dependent on national policy and beyond local control.


The Board highlighted the long term challenges relating to housing and employment in tackling health inequalities and the limited interventions available to local authorities through the licensing and planning systems.


Resolved that the progress report on work to develop a new Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy focussed on addressing health inequalities be noted.

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