What we want to achieve
The benefits of prevention are obvious to most people. This was a common theme in local discussions during our 2017/18 consultation programme. The challenge is knowing precisely how to make the right impact, when so many factors are involved, such as genetics, our surroundings, employment, housing and education.
According to research by the independent charity, The Health Foundation, healthy behaviours have a 50% influence on our health, but unhealthy lifestyles have proved difficult to change over the last 20-30 years.
We are now on the road to better knowledge by creating a computer system that will enable us to identify which individuals, households and locations are at higher risk of illness or harm, so that we can take specific preventative action and improve the health of our population.
The system will gather information from every organisation in our STP and present it back for analysis and sharing. Over the next five to ten years, we will become more sophisticated at detecting undiagnosed problems and predicting which individuals are most likely to benefit from preventative action.
Where we are now
There are many individual examples of work in mid and south Essex that are delivering health improvement benefits. The question is whether we are making the right support available where it is most needed. Through a more systematic approach on a bigger scale, we know that we can make a far greater impact.
Over the next five years, our Partnership will provide a way for organisations to pool their resources and work together to develop the following main areas:
- Information gathering and analysis. This could include, for example, information about people with high blood pressure, weight problems, smoking, hospital episodes, drug and alcohol treatments, children being absent from school, educational attainments and more.
- Ways to share and use the information safely and confidentially, whether in one particular area or across the whole of our Partnership.
- Coordinated efforts to tackle the problems we identify, whether this needs action from one or several public services together, such as health, housing, education and social care.
At the same time, the CCGs and local authorities in our Partnership will continue to work together to develop three main levels of health improvement:
For healthy people
- Regular exercise and a healthy diet – its down to you, but there are ways in which we can help
- Timely access to information, advice and support from your local GP surgery or health centre – person to person, if necessary, or through new website and smartphone apps
- Education and support for young people at school, parents and families in need and older people who may be isolated
For people with health risks or a long term condition
- Problems identified through proactive checks and tests
- Early diagnosis
- Help to manage your condition from a range of health and care professionals, not just your GP
For people with several long term conditions
- Understanding you as a person with several needs, whether physical, mental or social
- Problems identified with a single assessment
- Different health and care professionals working as one team to keep you well and independent for as long as possible and to take quick action to avoid serious problems.
To find out more about what help is available in your local area your GP surgery is your first point of call, but you can also contact your local CCG. Click herefor details.
Example in practice: Thurrock
Thurrock Council and Thurrock CCG gather a range of information from their GP practices to identify who may be at risk of stroke – people with high blood pressure, for example, or people who sometimes experience abnormal pulse rates. The public health team in Thurrock can also look at where the number of patients receiving treatments for these problems is lower than expected for the local area. The CCG can then work with the GP practices to test their patients, find those with undiagnosed problems and register them for ongoing treatment.
The public health team estimates that for every 1% the high blood pressure register nears completion, 65 strokes could be prevented every three years.
This work is part of a wider health and social care plan to increase and improve primary care and healthy lifestyle services across Thurrock. The Council and CCG are investing in four new integrated care centres to bring together GPs, nurses, social care professionals, therapists and voluntary sector services.
Click here for more information
Next steps and further information
Our Partnership has a Population Health Management and Prevention Working Group to set out the plan for the next five years.