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Public Health

Solihull’s Public Health team works to enable people to choose healthier lifestyles, protect people’s health and improve the quality of health & care services.  We design and commission a range of services to enable people to live healthier lifestyles.

Public Health moved out of the NHS and into Solihull Council in 2012. Public Health works across the Council and with a range of partners to influence decisions that will impact upon the Public’s health such as environmental, planning and education.

What are we doing?

Promoting screening and immunisation programmes to protect the Public’s health

  • Raising awareness of cancer. Public Health are promoting cancer awareness and screening programmes. We are working with GP practices and partners to normalise the conversation about cancer and ensure information is available to members of the Public. As more people are surviving Cancer Public Health have piloted ‘cancer survivorship classes’  with Penny Brohn UK for the second year running which provide support to survivors on lifestyle choices after cancer.
  • Public Health promote a range of immunisation programmes such as flu vaccinations

Working with the community

  •  Public Health has been working with Chelmunds cross in North Solihull to support the development of the community hub it has become. Within the Chelmunds Cross area Public Health have been working with the local community centre ‘Three Trees’ who offer a range of activities for local people including Stone Carving Groups, a Food Co-operative, Arts Groups, Healthy Cooking programmes, physical activity such as keep fit and Zumba. Near to Three Trees is the Gro-Organic Community Garden. In conjunction with local residents, Gro-Organic has developed this piece of wasteland near to Chelmunds Cross into a thriving community garden. Members of the community have now taken ownership of aspects of the garden and it’s been a huge success. Food grown in the garden is used by local residents, cooked on the earth oven at Three Trees and used in the Community Café (within Three Trees). Some is given away as part of ‘Free Food Fridays’ to local people.

Gro-Organic featured on BBC Inside Out in January 2016

Designing services to meet the needs of Solihull to allow people to access services and make positive lifestyle choices

  • We are re-designing services to meet needs. We have a new Sexual Health service in Solihull called ‘Umbrella’. The new service uses  new technology to make services and information more available, plus people can order  self-testing kits for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) online and post them back, with results sent by text. Services are now more accessible a new clinic upstairs in Boots in Mell Square has been opened, and for the first time there is six day a week service available in Solihull offering full range of testing and treatment for STIs and a full range of contraception choices.
  • Solihull Stop Smoking service and the Solihull Weight Management Service have been redesigned this year and will be provided in a new way. This will include more Stop Smoking clinics and greater choice of Weight Management services for the public to access. As Weight Management services are normally used mainly by women we have now designed a new weight management service called MAN v FAT which provides tailored services to suit and attract men.

WATCH: MAN v FAT, a 6-a-side football league exclusively for men trying to lose weight

How are we doing this?

Working with key partners to improve the health and wellbeing of the borough;

  • Rolling out ‘Making Every Contact Count (MECC)’. Health is everyone’s business, by providing MECC training we are training people in how to raise the conversation about people’s lifestyle choices. By providing some brief advice on living a healthy lifestyle this could result in a change to an individual’s lifestyle choices and in turn their health. This year we have been delivering this training across Heart of England Foundation Trust (our local hospital trust) to key partners who have the opportunity to raise these conversations when seeing patients.
  • Working with pharmacies to become ‘Healthy Living Pharmacies’. The Pharmacy team are provided with training to achieve this status, they are then equipped to be able to offer members of the community advice on healthy lifestyles, healthy living and will provide health promotion events. For example, the promotion of national ‘No Smoking Day’ including advice and support to the public on how to successfully quit smoking.
  • We commission Social Prescribing. Social Prescribing is about linking people up to activities in the community that they might benefit from to improve their health. It’s about connecting people to non-medical sources of support and taking a more rounded approach to tackling people’s health and wellbeing.

Understanding and identifying the needs of Solihull’s residents to inform how and where services should be delivered:

  • In order to design services to meet the needs of the borough, Public Health regularly complete needs assessments to inform the decisions we make. Needs assessments review data to look at the current gaps or needs; from this it will help inform what we want to achieve and the approach to make this happen when designing services.
  • Working across the public sector with partners to influence decisions. Public Health work closely with many partners to provide advice and consideration of health issues in the work that our partners carry out. As an example we work with planning at the Council to consider the impact of planning applications on people’s health.

What’s happening in 2016?

In 2016 our priorities will be;

  • The responsibility for commissioning Health Visitor now sits with Public Health. In 2016 we will be looking at 0-19 years services that come under Public Health and how they can be provided in a joined up way
  • We will be focusing on working with our hospital trusts to provide Stop Smoking Services to expectant mothers to provide children with the best start in life