Health and wellbeing strategy 2022 - 2027
Staffordshire is a varied county, with urban centres next to green, rural landscapes. There are many local assets and a strong community spirit. Staffordshire is generally quite a healthy place to live, but this does hide pockets of very poor health.
This document outlines our key priorities and actions we can take to improve health and wellbeing in Staffordshire. It is based on data we have gathered on local issues, health need, and feedback from local people.
We recognise the importance of personalisation and choice, helping people to achieve their goals. This strategy is about promoting a system-wide ambition to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for local people.
This will complement the approach of organisations in Staffordshire. It will also form a key part of the wider vison for the Integrated Care System, which has a duty to work closely with health and wellbeing boards and to have regard for the joint health and wellbeing board strategy.
This strategy remains a live document and may be refreshed considering developments in legislation, local and national policy or need. It builds on the successes of the incredible teamwork realised across the county during the Covid19 pandemic, providing a foundation for further collaboration and productivity.
While Staffordshire is a relatively healthy place to live, there are challenges. They are to improve healthy life expectancy, reduce health inequalities and reduce demand on hospital services. Rates of infant mortality (deaths) are high, and more children are overweight or obese. Reports of poor mental health, loneliness, and isolation are increasing. About two thirds of adults are overweight or obese and alcohol consumption is on the rise. The demand for adult social care has increased and long term illness and disability affects a large proportion of the population.
Increases in life expectancy have stopped improving, and the number of years people spend living with illness is increasing. This is largely due to the growing number of people with long term conditions, which leads to reduced independence and greater reliance on health and care services.
These issues are not evenly distributed across the county but are more concentrated among certain groups in society. There is a strong association with income, although some conditions, such as diabetes, are often linked to ethnicity and other minority groups. This inequality is increasing and has been further highlighted during the Covid19 pandemic.
A thorough needs assessment has highlighted the main health and wellbeing challenges across Staffordshire as follows:
- An ageing and growing population
- Challenges at the start of children’s lives and as they grow and develop
- Inequalities in health outcomes and access to health and care services
- Pockets of fuel poverty (not being able to afford to heat your home)
- Poor mental health and wellbeing, social isolation, and loneliness
- Poor health outcomes caused by health-related behaviours
- Pressure on services caused by increasing long-term conditions and frailty.
A full overview of health and wellbeing needs
The Covid19 pandemic remains an ongoing threat. Many of the above issues have been worsened, and inequalities exposed. Tackling these challenges and supporting Staffordshire’s recovery must be a key health priority in the following years.
However, it is also important to recognise that Staffordshire has many assets which can be used to improve health and independence. There is a well-resourced and tailored digital offer. Good information, advice and guidance is available, as well as an assistive technology tool, benefits calculator, and a comprehensive online directory of support available via Staffordshire Connects. The Supportive Communities programme is developing a network of community help points and community champions. Staffordshire is leading the way in dementia care with two ‘centres of excellence’ and innovative approaches such as Hungry Little Minds and Family Hubs. An overview of some of the key assets
It is well known that a wide range of factors (such as education, employment, and housing) drive good health, and the events of recent months have shown how everyone has a role to play in creating the conditions that enable people to be healthy. Therefore, one of the key objectives of this strategy is to consider health and wellbeing as ‘everyone’s business’ and aim for its integration into all that we do.
The approach is also about strengths (jobs, housing, healthy lifestyles) which develop resilience to potential harms. This includes preventing illness, but also wider benefits, such as improved mental wellbeing, less reliance on specialist services, improved educational achievements, reduced isolation and loss of independence, safeguarding risks and crime.
Creating communities and environments that enable healthy choices and delivering high quality support to keep people independent and well. We will think ‘health’ in all that we do.
To reduce inequality and increase healthy life expectancy.
- Prioritising prevention and early intervention.
- Engaging with communities to co-produce solutions.
- Recognising the importance of voluntary organisations in improving health and wellbeing.
- Recognising diversity and responding to inequalities and inequities.
- Commissioning and delivering high quality services that provide excellent value for money for those who need them most, tailored to people’s needs.
- Communicating clearly to make sure we are understood, and that information is accessible to everyone.
- Being strengths-based, making the most of existing community assets and insight.
- Having a good understanding of data, improving care coordination, and designing proactive models of care.
- Ensuring that local people have access to the information and support they need to remain independent and stay well.
- Developing the wider health and care workforce
- Embracing digital solutions.
This strategy is guided by the King’s Fund four pillars for population health, which aims to improve physical and mental health outcomes, promote wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities across an entire population. The pillars are:
- The wider determinants of health – the range of social factors such as income, employment, housing, and transport which are the most important drivers for health.
- Our health behaviours and lifestyles, which are the second most important driver for health, covering behaviours such as smoking, diet and exercise.
- The places and communities we live in and with (including employers) – which influence our health behaviours, mental wellbeing, social relationships, and networks.
- An integrated health and care system – to coordinate and tailor services to individual needs rather than to suit organisations.
NHS, local government, and other organisations have a critical role, not just as providers of health and care services but as employers, a big part of the local economy and anchor institutions in their communities. However, these challenges cannot be addressed by the health and care system alone; a much broader approach is required that pays more attention to the wider determinants of health and the role of people and communities.
We will strive for the development of more resilient systems, designed to ensure that those people who need support most, receive it, and alternatives are available and accessible where appropriate.
We need approaches that can complement statutory services, including community-led initiatives, assistive technology and the information, advice and guidance designed to help people care for themselves. Building system resilience also involves redesigning care pathways to shift emphasis toward prevention and divert people away from high end services and building community capacity to enable people to retain independence and help themselves.
Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing Board has drawn on local insight, considered current health and wellbeing need and determined the following as priorities for focused attention and action. Under each priority area we identify the outcomes we want to achieve, the local community assets and partners we will work with.
- Health in early life
- Good mental health
- Healthy weight
- Healthy ageing
Health in early life Improving health in pregnancy and infancy with a priority focus on reducing infant mortality. We will do this by working with and encouraging our partners to:
- develop a better understanding of the data and local intelligence
- improve local recording systems
- work in partnerships to improve outcomes
- ensure that there is a strong focus on reducing smoking in pregnancy and smoking in the home
- provide effective support during pregnancy and the baby’s first weeks where and when it is needed
- ensure a strong focus on healthy infant feeding
- develop a whole systems approach to healthy weight in pregnancy.
Good mental health. Building strong and resilient communities and individuals who are in control of their own mental wellbeing. We want to encourage:
- more social interaction
- more physical activity
- reduced unsafe social media use
- promotion of the Five Ways to Wellbeing (and other approaches with strong evidence)
- improved maternal and parental mental health
- the early identification of mental health issues in children and young people
- Mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people.
- a stronger focus on workplace mental wellbeing
- a system-wide approach to reduce and prevent suicide and self-harm
- more initiatives that tackle loneliness and social isolation
- a stronger focus from key public sector organisations (“anchor organisations”) to create employment, training, and volunteering opportunities
- a stronger focus on encouraging and supporting communities to support each other and themselves.
Healthy weight creating the conditions to help people to make healthy choices that will help adults and children reach a healthy weight. We want to encourage:
- Healthy places that promote physical activity and encourage active travel
- Healthy places that help people to access and choose healthier food options.
- An approach that recognises that people’s needs are different at different stages of their lives (a life course approach).
- A system-wide commitment to our local initiative Better Health Staffordshire which will improve joined up working and collective action.
- A stronger commitment to community and local approaches that build on existing strengths in our Staffordshire Communities.
Healthy ageing Promoting well-being and enabling independence for older people. We want to encourage:
- the promotion of healthy lifestyles that will reduce and delay the onset of ill health and frailty
- approaches that recognise the strengths and skill of older people
- strengths-based practice in health and care with older people
- warm, energy-efficient homes for everyone
- a strong focus on independence
- the prevention of falls amongst older people
- more people supported to plan and prepare for older age and death
- more choice at the end of people’s lives, with a focus on supporting people to remain at home, and to die at home.
The health and social care White Paper explained | The King's Fund (kingsfund.org.uk)
5 ways to wellbeing (health-in-mind.org.uk)
HWBB Report Template (Compliant) (staffordshire.gov.uk)