New health strategy takes shape for Hartlepool

Hartlepool's director of public health Paul Edmondson-Jones
Hartlepool's director of public health Paul Edmondson-Jones

A new strategy to protect and improve the health of Hartlepool is being developed.

The town’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2018-25 will aim to tackle the town’s health inequalities and premature death.

The draft strategy, being spearheaded by Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board, which includes council and health chiefs, says early deaths in Hartlepool are linked to deprived areas of the town.

The strategy states: “In Hartlepool there is a 9 year gap between affluent and deprived communities in how long a man might expect to live. “This life expectancy gap is seven years for women.”

Other issues in Hartlepool the strategy aims to tackle are the percentage of mums who smoke during pregnancy is worse than the England average; booze-related hospital admissions are higher than the national average, childhood vaccinations are significantly lower than the national average; and 25% of Year 6 pupils are classed as obese – this is the highest in the Tees Valley.

The strategy states integrated working, focusing on outcomes and improving efficiency are key to improving the town’s health problems.

Hartlepool’s director of public health Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones presented the final draft of the strategy to the Health and Wellbeing Board yesterday.

He said: “We have identified five priorities. It follows a life course approach around Starting Well, Working Well, Living Well, Ageing Well and a fifth we added after consultation was around Dying Well.

“It’s using our local intelligence, turning our information into intelligence and then into action and sharing that info and intelligence.

“It’s about working better and supporting better the voluntary and community sector. They are a huge asset in Hartlepool.

“It’s getting the right message to the right people at the right time and making the best use of our resources.”

The strategy has also been shaped by input from the community following consultation and community events.

Priorities people highlighted included employment, mental health, parenting, drug misuse, as well as support for carers, social isolation and access to hospital services.

Further consultation on the final draft strategy will take place during October.

It is due to be formally approved by Hartlepool Borough Council and Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group next March.

Dr Edmondson-Jones also presented his first annual health report which focuses on better supporting Hartlepool’s growing older population.

As reported in the Mail last week, by 2025 more than a quarter of the town’s population is set to be aged over 65.

The report says stakeholders need to tackle social isolation and help older people to live independently for as long as possible.

Dr Nick Timlin, who chaired the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, said: “I think it’s a great report. I think it would be useful for all new practices to have a copy.”