Public health priorities

The Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board works to improve health and decrease health inequalities.

We work to ensure that people in Suffolk live long, fulfilling and healthy lives.

We can measure our success by seeing:

  • increased healthy life expectancies
  • a reduction in the differences in life expectancies between Suffolk communities 

Strategic outcomes for Suffolk

We have agreed 4 strategic outcomes based on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. They are also based on evidence which shows action in these areas will help us with our long term aims.

The priorities for action within these areas have been developed using the views of organisations and individuals across Suffolk.

The 4 priorities are:

Every child in Suffolk has the best start in life

This is crucial for establishing a good foundation for future development.

Interventions in early infancy have been shown to produce better outcomes and can improve:

  • educational attainment
  • economic status
  • physical health
  • mental health

Children from the most deprived areas of Suffolk:

  • are 4.5 times more likely to be absent from their lessons
  • are more likely to be in the lowest 20% achievers at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (aged 5)
  • perform 63% lower at GCSE level (aged 16)
  • are 34% more likely to be obese
  • are 3 times more likely to be a teenage parent
  • have higher prevalence of mental ill health (especially behavioural and emotional disorders)

Priorities for action

  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Promoting a family focus across the work of all agencies including support to Suffolk Family Focus
  • Supporting parents to improve their own circumstances

Find out more about our priority to give every child in Suffolk the best start in life on the Healthy Suffolk website>.

 

Suffolk residents have access to a health environment and take responsibility for their own health and well-being 

A healthy lifestyle improves the health and well-being of the population and that the environment we live in can facilitate this.

If green spaces are available and people feel safe, they are more likely to exercise. Exercise is also encouraged by well planned and properly linked walking and cycling routes. 

Tobacco, increasing levels of obesity and excessive alcohol consumption affect quality of life and are contributing to increasing rates of long term conditions and hospital admissions.

The level of engagement of the population in their own health affects NHS and social care spending. 

A "fully engaged scenario" is required for an affordable NHS and social care system in the future. This is where individuals make healthy lifestyle choices and organisations in the wider public and private sector work to improve health.

Priorities for action

  • Creating an environment where it is easy to make healthy choices
  • Increasing the levels of physical activity and encouraging greater use of our natural environment
  • Decreasing the harm caused by alcohol to individuals and communities 
  • Improving access to suitable housing

Find out more about our priority to improve independent life for people with physical and learning disabilities on the Healthy Suffolk website.

Older people in Suffolk have a good quality of life

As the population of older people in Suffolk increases, we want to ensure that they can enjoy a good quality of life.

People who enter old age healthily have a longer healthy life expectancy, free of disability.

We want to create an environment where older people can be:

  • active
  • engaged
  • independent
  • safe

We want older people to be part of supportive communities who value their experience and contribution.

Priorities for action

  • A focus on prevention including the promotion of healthy lifestyles
  • A focus on reducing loneliness and social isolation for older people 

Find out more about our priority to give older people in Suffolk a good quality of life on the Healthy Suffolk website.

People in Suffolk have the opportunity to improve their mental health and wellbeing

Mental ill health affects many people in our community:

  • 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life
  • 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 16 years has a mental health problem
  • Self-harm affecting 1 in 10 of those aged between 15 and 16
  • 1 in 10 new mothers experience postnatal depression

At any one time, 1 in 6 adults has a mental health problem.

The proportion affected is much higher for those who are in prison – this is important in Suffolk where 4 prisons are based, one of which is the largest in Europe.

Mental ill health can negatively affect a young person’s education and an adult’s ability to work. Over a half of older people in acute hospitals for a physical problem also have a mental health condition.

Priorities for action

  • Ensure that mental health is everyone’s business, not just health, social care and the voluntary sector.
  • Increase access to support for improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children, including access to child and adolescent mental health services.
  • Ensure that there is seamless mental health provision across agencies. Especially available for those with multiple problems such as drug and alcohol misuse and mental ill health.
  • Bringing together all the elements of physical and mental wellbeing in recognition that mental and physical health are inter-dependent.

Find out more about our priority to give people in Suffolk the opportunity to improve their mental health and wellbeing on the Healthy Suffolk website.

Find out about the new Emotional Wellbeing Gateway website for families and professionals looking for practical advice and local support services for common emotional wellbeing and mental health issues.