To receive a Public Health report in respect of prevention-led systems.
Consideration was given to a report outlining some of the key challenges and opportunities in Rotherham in relation to the prevention agenda. It also provided an update on activity taking place to produce a Prevention and Health Inequalities Strategy for Rotherham, presenting an opportunity for Health Select Commission to feed into the development of this strategy.
In discussion, Members requested additional information around access to primary care and hesitation of residents to go to the GP. The response from officers and the Cabinet Member noted that some hesitation is related to changes in access to care during the pandemic, and some hesitation can be reduced by changing appointments to a more suitable date. Whereas previously a patient may have sought early access to care, now patients wait for a change in their needs or their health. It is important to get treatment at an early stage however. There has been improved efforts to reach into communities with better communication and engagement, for example, taking health checks to people, such as offering lung checks in car parks, etc.
Members also requested additional information regarding what prevention is available before a patient enters the cardiac pathway or multiple pathways. The response indicated that frailty assessments were conducted as were mental and physical health checks and checks for chronic disease. Details were provided around the provision of annual health checks, and how fewer healthy people were receiving health checks during the pandemic. The data generated from GPS in terms of various conditions were useful for prevention intelligence. Work was being done around communication of early signs, because people who were seeing early signs in their 30s and 40s could be experiencing disease in their 50s and 60s. Likewise, childen’s behaviour can indicate vulnerability to early onset.
Members expressed curiosity if it was the view that there would be an improvement. The response predicted a decline for the next 2 to 3 years. Smoking, however, was a measure that had actually improved during the pandemic.
Members also wished to know about substantive prevention efforts that had been ongoing. The response from the Cabinet Member noted the recent work over the past 4 to 5 years to feed into housing standards and licensing, controlling air quality and pollution, maintaining two services for drugs and alcohol treatment and recovery, thwarting a fast food outlet being opened within a few meters of a school, strengthening links with culture and leisure to improve peace of mind and physical health. Work had also been doing in respect of the 5 ways of wellbeing and refreshing the obesity programme. Ultimately, prevention comes down to choices but providing activities and strategies was a key part. A further response from the Director of Public Health noted that the COVID-19 vaccination programme was the largest scale prevention programme that had been delivered and that early identification screenings for hypertension had also been strengthened. More BAME women were receiving maternity care, and more people with chronic mental illness were receiving testing whilst receiving treatment.
1. That the report be noted.
2. That Members provide comments and contribute towards the development of a prevention and health inequalities strategy for Rotherham.
3. That Members consider how this developing area of strategy should be reflected in future scrutiny activity.