Improving the health and wellbeing of Hampshire residents
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Improving the health and wellbeing of Hampshire residents continues to be a top priority for the County Council as Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, considers budget proposals for Public Health for the first time since responsibilities transferred to the County Council in April 2013.
The proposals focus on improving health outcomes for local people and reducing inequalities through the commissioning of a range of services to maximise the current and future wellbeing of Hampshire residents within a proposed budget of £40.4 million for 2014-15. The money comes from Government as a ring-fenced grant.
Key areas of work for Public Health in the coming year will include:
- Ensuring current public health services, such as the school nursing service and the NHS-commissioned screening and immunisation services are meeting the needs of local people while delivering against national standards
- Commissioning local drugs and alcohol prevention and treatment services to meet the changing needs of people of all ages across the county
- Delivering an effective NHS health checks programme
- Promoting sexual health
- Community safety in relation to domestic violence support services
- Workplace health across the county, as well as within the County Council itself.
The budget plans for Public Health also take into account the shared responsibility to deliver the Council's 12 per cent efficiency savings target via a rigorous review of existing contracts and the integration of existing service arrangements across all departments to ensure the best use of resources.
Commenting on the proposals, Cllr Fairhurst said: "It is important to recognise that Public Health has been working with the County Council for many years on a wide range of initiatives and programmes, and that now, being part of the Authority, is enabling us to maximise effectiveness, and improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of Hampshire.
"Public health is about helping people to stay healthy, and protecting them from threats to their health. Through the work of the County Council's Public Health team, we want to support Hampshire residents to be able to make healthier choices, regardless of their circumstances, and to minimise the risk and impact of illness."
The budget for Public Health is being considered within the overall context of the unprecedented financial challenges facing the County Council, and the 43 per cent cut in government grant over the last four years. Fortunately, early action by the Council to cut its costs mean it is in a strong position to meet its £200 million plus savings target by 2015. The Council is also aiming for a freeze in council tax for the fourth year in a row to ease the pressure on residents.