Agenda item

Director of Public Health Annual Report

Report and presentation of the Corporate Director of Adult and Health Services, and the Director of Public Health, Durham County Council.


The Board received a report and presentation from the Director of Public Health, Amanda Healy on her Annual Report (for copy see file of minutes).


Members noted the report focussed on COVID-19 and the range of work in response to the pandemic and made reference to the ‘Approach to Wellbeing’, including how ‘wellbeing principles’ had helped the County Durham Together Community Hub adapt in response to the pandemic to meet the changing needs within our communities.


Members noted examples of progress against the recommendations that were included in the annual report:


Every child has the best start in life

·        Health and Wellbeing Framework for schools and education settings

·        Smokefree app promotion and rollout

·        Breastfeeding friendly scheme

Mental Health at scale

Good jobs and places to live, learn and play

·        Hot food takeaway policy implementation

·        Housing and health initiatives

Healthy workforce

·        Launch of the Employee Assistance Programme for small businesses and VCSEs to support staff wellbeing

·        Continued Public Health messages

High quality drug and alcohol services

·        Alcohol before 18 what’s the harm campaign

·        Establishment of drug and alcohol outreach services in local communities

Promoting positive behaviours

·        Active 30, to help children become more active

·        Smoking and alcohol campaigns e.g. smoke free homes

Better quality of life through integrated health and care services

·        Flu vaccinations

·        We are undefeatable programme pilot

·        Macmillan’s Joining the Dots programme


The Director of Public Health noted it would be the final year utilising the ‘Taylor Family’ who had been used to demonstrate the impact of health and wellbeing, and the positive impact of our work and initiatives.  She noted that over the coming year the focus would remain on reducing health inequalities, which had widened as a result of the pandemic.


Councillor R Bell asked as regards any further information on the Fair Funding Review and how that would relate to Durham.  The Director of Public Health noted colleagues from Finance were monitoring the situation with further information due in Spring. 


She added that she was awaiting the grant funding letter for the upcoming year, noting individual funding for weight management and the drug and alcohol service, however this did not allow longer term planning.


Councillor Ted Henderson asked as regards the take up of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) across small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the county and whether it was sustainable.  The Public Health Strategic Manager, Michael Shannon noted the EAP was a free service improving people’s general health and wellbeing.  He explained that the highest number of website hits was in October 2021, with lower access via the telephone lines, and less take up for free counselling sessions.  In terms of sustainability, he noted that the ‘Healthy Business Framework’ would be available to SMEs in terms of maximising good staff mental health and wellbeing. 


The Director of Commissioning Strategy and Development (Primary Care), Joseph Chandy noted the development of mental health first-aiders with small businesses and noted that GPs surgeries were also small businesses.  He noted the challenges they faced, including in helping to build resilience for their staff as a key area.  He asked if it would be possible to link up and make such offers available to GP staff and also noted the Better Health at Work Scheme, albeit that may be a stretch for some GPs.  The Director of Public Health mentioned the ‘mindful employer’ initiative and noted she would pick up the issue with the Director of Commissioning Strategy and Development (Primary Care).




That the report and presentation be noted.


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