Over the past five years there have been significant changes in the way public services consider and meet the challenges facing health and wellbeing, both nationally and locally in Warwickshire.
When we think about health and wellbeing, we need to look at the bigger picture – work, housing, our environment, diet, transport and more. These factors affect our health and wellbeing and are influenced by many partners including local authorities, businesses, the voluntary sector and local communities, as well as health services.
In order to transform local services to meet these challenges and ensure the people of Warwickshire can pursue happy and healthy lives, we must first understand the needs of and the opportunities in our local communities and use this information to inform what we do. The collection of this information is called the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.
While in the past the JSNA has looked at Warwickshire as a whole, a new approach was piloted in North Warwickshire in 2017, looking at the health and wellbeing needs of a local community, rather than at a county level. The recommendations as a result of this work have already led to a number of initiatives to address the specific needs of the area.
The assessment highlighted that teenage conception rates in the north of the county were significantly higher than the national average. Using local evidence gathered in the JSNA, agencies came together from across the health, education and wellbeing sectors and made commitments to address the issue of teenage conceptions in North Warwickshire.
Outcomes of this work included improved information and advice for young people about sexual health and the C Card condom distribution pilot in dedicated locations in Nuneaton & Atherstone. The C Card programme makes it easier for young people to access free contraception, in tandem with information on relationships and sexual health.This service was co-produced with local pupils.
In addition, an outreach service was also jointly commissioned by partners in a new location in North Warwickshire to meet the need for young people friendly services in the area.
Dementia Friendly Communities
North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council, are working together to encourage local groups and organisations that offer services for people with dementia and their carers to come together and help create a joined-up, dementia friendly community.
Dementia Friendly Environment checks have been completed at each of the local authority’s leisure centres, which has resulted in changes at Atherstone Leisure Centre to make the building more accessible to people with dementia.
In January, an event was held which brought together a range of external partners to raise awareness of the work taking place in North Warwickshire and how they can get involved.
Data showed there were high levels of cardiovascular disease mortality in northern Warwickshire. Local authorities decided to use the #onething campaign to address this.
The #onething campaign encourages people to pledge one thing to improve their lifestyle and signposts them to services that can help. The campaign also offers mini health checks within local communities based on need.
In 2017 the #onething team completed 1,352 mini health checks and 845 #onething pledges across Warwickshire North. Following the needs assessment, additional focus has been targeted in areas of high priority to help the early identification of people who are more at risk of developing long term preventable/manageable conditions. This has led to a high number of referral rates to GPs for further investigation.
One of the issues highlighted through the JSNA work was mental health issues in young people, including issues of self harm, in the Atherstone and Mancetter area. Using this information, services for emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young people (RISE) have located one of their community hubs in the area to meet this need.
Campaigns and projects like these rely on data and information, such as the JSNA, to both demonstrate their need, design the shape of the service and also evaluate their impact. The data collected through the JSNA will be available for partners, charities and community organisations to access and better understand the communities they serve.
The success of the pilot in North Warwickshire has led to a new place-based approach being introduced across Warwickshire over the next two years in 22 areas. This will help us deliver more effective services to our local communities and help improve health and wellbeing.