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Agenda item

Update on the Director of Public Health Report


Martina Pickin, Consultant in Public Health at East Sussex County Council delivered an update on the Director of Public Health’s Report ‘The State of Child Health in East Sussex’. The report focused on the state of child health in the county, in comparison to the same report nationally and details six chapters focusing on different stages in childhood. The data presented highlights 25 key national measures with a focus on additional specific issues for East Sussex where data is available. Each chapter contains a set of recommendations for further action.


In each chapter of the report, tables are provided, showing a comparison of the rate of certain health factors across districts and boroughs in the county, as well as national averages.


Hastings differed to the county average in certain categories, including maternal smoking, which was higher than its neighbours and breastfeeding, in which it was lower than its neighbours. Hastings and Rother were jointly lower on vaccinations than the county and national average.


The report highlights the impact of deprivation on a range of key health statistics which can be clearly seen for the statistics regarding Hastings e.g. tooth decay,


Teenage conception continues to be particularly high in Hastings, as well as self-harm, mental health issues and the rate of child poverty.


For some of the reported statistics it is not possible to comment whether their status is good or bad e.g. number of child protection plans.


It was also noted that the deprivation indicators focus on disparity between those more well off communities and deprived communities, in regards to education, green spaces and air quality for instance. However, indicators like these were noted to make coastal towns seem less deprived, due to their access to open spaces on the beach, and better air qualities.


A key point was made, that the health of individuals as children affects them for the rest of their life, but most problems highlighted were able to be prevented at a local level.


A question was raised in regards to the rates of epilepsy, and whether there really was a correlation between epilepsy and deprivation. The answer was that there may be a correlation between learning disabilities and epilepsy, and that those from deprived backgrounds are more likely to have learning disabilities.


Furthermore, in regards to reductions in funding for local authorities, there was a query on whether work was still continuing in the areas mentioned in the report. The reply was that work was continuing in the areas included in the report, even with less funding. It was also stated that the CCG’s Health and Equalities program had brought funding in to different services, such as programs about maternal smoking and breastfeeding, both of which had been making good progress, with maternal smoking rates falling and rates of breastfeeding rising. Alongside this, the Hastings Opportunity Area funding was aiding in helping this work continue.


The group raised an issue on whether the LSP would take an overview or mark progress over the last fifteen years in regards to these reports, and their findings. It was stated that there was trend data in the report where the information was available. The group then suggested that the LSP could commission work to look analytically over what has occurred during the life of the LSP, and look at the statistics comparatively to see any long term trends.


The group suggested that the LSP engage with communities so that issues that are perpetuating can be discovered.


The group agreed that a single approach for Hastings need to be adopted by the LSP to tackle the issues that the town faces, as detailed in the report.


It was agreed that in the future, the possibility of the council, county council and partners working together to create a brief for a piece of work, to see what progress the LSP could make to improve the situation of health in Hastings.

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