Prioritising Prevention and Wider Determinants to protect the health and wellbeing of people and communities
We want to see prevention being explicitly embedded and resourced across all plans, policies and strategies for our population, supporting a reduction in inequalities and improvement in health and wellbeing outcomes. This includes addressing the impact of the wider determinants of health across the life course, ensuring residents live in affordable and good quality homes, have access to good jobs, feel safe and connected to their communities, utilize green space and are enabled to use active travel.
“More prevention plans and strategies - maybe this will help to save money and resources in the future.” (Feedback from an engagement session held at a Hindu Temple)
We also want to be as prepared as possible for the very real threat of future pandemics, but also effectively manage all aspects of health protection, taking a population health and multi-agency approach. This includes ensuring ready access to and high uptake of immunisation and screening opportunities and appropriate and safe antibiotic prescribing. Our public health workforce, leadership and the lessons from Covid-19 will be key.
Within our communities people living in shared accommodation such as care homes, refugee and asylum seeker accommodation are more vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious diseases and we will continue to work collaboratively with partners to ensure additional measures are in place.
"Refugee and asylum seeker's mental and physical health is being affected due to the long delays with paperwork, housing conditions, financial constraints and isolation.” (Feedback from an engagement session held at a Coventry and Warwickshire LGBTQI+ Support Group)
We want to deliver a whole system, all-age, person-centred approach to mental health and wellbeing, that is driven by access to physical and mental health and social care in the same place at the same time, with no wrong door, and where prevention is at the heart of all we do.
What are we doing already?
Our system approach based on the population health model not only recognises the interplay between wider determinants of health, our health behaviours and lifestyles, the communities in which we live and the health and care system, but also demonstrates our commitment to addressing these vital dimensions of health across the system. The Coventry and Warwickshire Population Health Inequalities and Prevention Board brings together and aligns local action around Population Health Management, Inequalities and Prevention across the system and is a vital aspect of developing the prevention agenda.
Both Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Wellbeing Boards have Health and Wellbeing Strategies in place that are rooted within the wider determinants of health, including a focus on connected, safe and sustainable communities. Our local authorities – Coventry City, Warwickshire County and our district and boroughs – also have strategies and plans and programmes of work in place around prevention and the wider determinants of health. In the context of significant cost-of-living pressures, with more people struggling to cover even basic bills and food costs, protecting people from the impact wider determinants can have on health and wellbeing is vitally important and will undoubtedly be more effective through an integrated approach across our system.
The nature of wider determinants means scope is broad and several workstreams are relevant, including but not limited to:
- Domestic abuse and serious violence
- Drugs and alcohol
- Environment and health
Locally we are harnessing the valuable lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic through an update of the local 2017-2021 Health Protection Strategy. This sets out a partnership approach to our identified priorities including emergency planning, infection control, screening and immunizations and air quality. Working closely in partnership with our UK Health Security Agency colleagues ensures a coordinated response to these key challenges, particularly emergencies and outbreaks.
Identified by the World Health Organization as being one of the biggest threats to global health, antibiotic resistance is also a priority locally and the Coventry and Warwickshire Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy is delivered in partnership with colleagues from the ICS, including system prescribing leads. This aims to reduce inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing across primary and secondary care.
What will change in our ways of working?
- A commitment across the system to support prevention activity, recognising the value for money of prevention and early intervention. This includes prevention and early intervention being embedded explicitly across all system, place and neighbourhood plans, policies, strategies and programmes and maximising opportunities for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention across all pathways.
- Prevention of ill-health and promotion of wellbeing will be the first step of every NHS and local government pathway.
- There will be an increased recognition of the need for broad partnerships and the contribution that all partners can make, including academic institutions and voluntary and community sector organisations.
- A ‘Health in All Policies’ approach embedded across the system, whereby organisations adopt policies that promote health and wellbeing and support people with the rising cost of living, as major local employers.
- Effective coordination of all relevant health partners across the ICS to ensure migrant, refugee and asylum seeker populations receive appropriate physical healthcare, tailored mental health support and access to all services.
What actions are we prioritising?
- Resources will be allocated to reflect our focus on prevention and the wider determinants of health. This will include a systematic shift in resources ‘upstream’ towards prevention, and Health and Wellbeing Partnerships acting as delivery for the wider determinants of health.
- We will consider how to apply the Midlands Health Inequalities toolkit, including the Health Inequalities Decision Tool, to our decision-making across the system and specifically any targeted health inequalities interventions decisions.
- All system partner policies will be assessed for their contribution (positive or negative) to the health of our population. This will include conducting Health Equity Assessment Tools on new work programmes and policies and conducting Health Impact Assessments, for example by using the HUDU HIA or the WHIASU toolkit.
- We will use population health methodology and the voice of people with lived experience to drive strategic commissioning decisions and plan service changes to address health inequalities and provide more preventative services.
- Health services and partners will be equipped with the knowledge and resources to be able to appropriately signpost to services related to the wider determinants of health, with the aim of systematically addressing social needs within the health and care systems, for example through social prescribing approaches - enabled by linked data.
- Colleagues across the whole ICS will work collaboratively to maximise vaccination uptake via a variety of campaigns, especially relating to childhood vaccines such as MMR and our Core20PLUS5 populations.
- The Coventry and Warwickshire Health Protection Committee will effectively implement the updated Health Protection Strategy, ensuring that there is appropriate representation and involvement from all relevant stakeholders across the whole ICS.