Successful and productive year for Public Health in Wiltshire

Successful and productive year for Public Health in Wiltshire

Life expectancy has increased in men and women, obesity in young children has reduced, more than 3.5 million people visited Wiltshire’s leisure centres, and the take up of free NHS health checks has increased significantly – those are just some of the highlights of the newly published Wiltshire Council Public Health Annual Report for 2015/16.

It has now been more than three years since responsibility for public health transferred from NHS to Wiltshire Council and in that relatively short time many improvements have been seen in the health and wellbeing of the county’s population. Life expectancy has increased for men and women and is significantly higher than it was a decade ago, with male life expectancy now more than 80 years

This year’s annual report focuses on a number of areas where the council works to improve the health and wellbeing of the public, including children and young people, healthy lifestyles, helping older people, mental health and preventing ill health.

Frances Chinemana, Wiltshire Council associate director for public health said: “The report highlights a really productive period for our public health team working with partners to make progress in a number of key areas, all to the benefit of the health and wellbeing of local residents.

“At the heart of our work is to support communities to help them to improve their own health. As the annual report demonstrates this approach has been successful, and we’ll work hard to make sure that continues”.

There is a summary below of some of the highlights in this year’s report. The full report can be read at

Helping children and young people achieve their potential Achievements and progress include:

  • The rate of teenage pregnancy in Wiltshire is now the lowest it has been since 1969 – 15 per 1,000 women
  • Wiltshire’s health visitors joined the wider public health team as the council took on responsibility for commissioning health services for children aged up to five
  • DadPad launched to support new fathers
  • Excess weight in four to five year olds in Wiltshire has reduced from over 22% in 2013/14 to 20.3%
  • Ninety schools are part of the Wiltshire Health Schools programme and during 2015/16 the first three schools achieved gold

Enabling healthy lifestyles and healthy choices

Achievements and progress include:

  • In 2015/16 there were more than 3.5 million visits to Wiltshire’s leisure centres
  • In 2015 the council’s health trainers almost doubled the number of clients they engaged with compared to the previous year
  • In 2015/16 Wiltshire’s Stop Smoking Service supported 2,484 people in the county to quit
  • More than 30,000 people combined took part in the Big Pledge challenge in 2015 and 2016 which provided an opportunity to help improve their health and wellbeing
  • 8,332 people in Devizes and Calne, walked, cycled or ran 145,534 miles over the course of the council’s six week Beat the Street scheme

Helping older people to live healthy, independent lives 

Achievements and progress include:

  • 14,000 people accepted the offer of a free NHS Health Check – 15% more than the previous year.
  • The Warm & Safe project continues to support residents to improve their energy efficiency and help keep their homes warm and safe
  • All over Wiltshire businesses and organisations have signed up to the council’s Safe Places project – establishing places in Wiltshire that provide a safe environment
  • 3,402 people were referred, through the Active Health scheme, to specialised programmes to help improve underlying health conditions
  • Testing of electric blankets saw that 17% failed the safety test due to overheating. Attendees also had the opportunity to trade in their old worn-out slippers for new ones to help reduce trips and falls 

Better mental health and wellbeing

Achievements and progress include:

  • Wiltshire’s Mental Health strategy was published – detailing how the council and its partners plan to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing of Wiltshire residents
  • There are now more than 15,000 people who have taken Dementia Friends Training in Wiltshire helping them learn more about dementia and the help and support they can provide
  • An event was held in Corsham to coordinate activities for older people to help improve mental an emotional wellbeing. More than 150 people attended The Big Get Together
  • Dedicated sports projects, like the Sports and Social Club at Cricklade Leisure Centre, are aiming to help improve local mental health and wellbeing issues
  • The council’s arts on referral programme ‘Artlift’ continues to improve the health and wellbeing of residents with creative and fun sessions 

Preventing ill health and protecting people locally

Achievements and progress include:

  • In April 2015 Wiltshire’s Alcohol Strategy for 2014/18 was finalised, marking the beginning of a new phase of work to tackle alcohol-related harm with communities and partners
  • For the fourth year in succession, Salisbury was awarded Purple Flag status and this year Chippenham also gained the award for the town
  • The council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner launched a single phone number to help people experiencing domestic abuse in Wiltshire to find support sooner
  • The uptake rates of the annual free flu vaccination in children aged 2-4 years, pregnant women and those aged 65 and over were all higher than the England average
  • The council ran multi-agency community resilience workshops across 250 parish and town councils to help them complete their local plans to prepare to cope during widespread emergencies like flooding, snow or disease outbreaks

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