Agenda item

Brent Health and Care Plan Update: Focus on Prevention

The purpose of this report is to provide the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) with a further update on the progress of the delivery of the Prevention work stream, as part of Brent’s Health and Care Plan.


Dr Melanie Smith (Director of Public Health, Brent Council) introduced the report which provided the Health and Wellbeing Board with an update on the prevention work stream within Brent’s Local Health and Care Plan. She outlined that there were five priority areas within this work stream and highlighted the work being undertaken to address two of these areas (reducing A&E attendances and hospital admissions due to alcohol; and halting the increase of childhood obesity).


Firstly, Dr Smith explained that the model which had been drawn up to reduce alcohol related admissions had had clinical input and insight from service users. She noted that London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWHT) had planned to change how their alcohol related admissions were recorded (taking effect in August 2018) to address the problem of under-recording in this area. Work was also underway to develop a seven-day acute care team for this type of admission. Secondly, she outlined that increased childhood obesity remained a problem in Brent and that the focus had now shifted to obesity prevention in early years settings as a fifth of children in Brent began primary school overweight. She referred Members to the seven key actions contained within paragraph 3.6 of the report and added that the ‘declaration on sugar reduction and healthier food’ would be brought back to enable a discussion with partners at a future meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board.


Members welcomed the work which addressed childhood obesity and it was recognised that this remained a serious problem across the borough. Questions arose on whether further initiatives could be pursued within schools to tackle the issue. It was suggested that it could be beneficial to have focused teaching on childhood obesity during Personal, Social and Health Education (PHSE) lessons, to teach young people the risks before they also had children themselves later in life. It was also mentioned that some schools no longer had Food Technology classes due to curriculum changes. Gail Tolley mentioned that there had been a discussion on childhood obesity at a recent BCT meeting and one of the public health consultants present had outlined proposals for joint working between the Schools Effectiveness and Public Health teams to enable a joined-up approach to this issue.


A question was asked on whether there was segmented data available on childhood obesity in order to better understand any behavioural challenges across Brent’s diverse communities. Dr Smith stated that there was a useful amount of data on childhood obesity as children in Brent were weighed and measured children in both reception and year six. She said that there had been a strong correlation between childhood obesity and deprivation and that this was a key challenge for the local area to address. The Board also heard that the commissioning of a healthy weight service formed part of the new 0-19 year’s public health contract. It was also felt that integrated commissioning could improve health outcomes in this area and that statutory documents such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and annual report from the Director of Public Health could also be utilised to highlight the challenge further.


Discussions moved to an additional priority within the prevention work stream which addressed tobacco use and it was noted that an increased usage of e-products within the borough could have caused smoking prevalence and access to cessation services to fall. Dr Smith stated that there was not yet enough data available to be able to draw firm conclusions on this. She outlined that the initial data from the London Smoking Cessation Transformation programme suggested that people were intrigued by the alternatives to smoking but chose to take up e-cigarettes as opposed to quitting nicotine. Carolyn Downs mentioned an example whereby Essex County Council had been working to encourage people to give up nicotine altogether through a close liaison between vape shops and their Trading Standards team.


There were additional discussions on: Health and Wellbeing Board Members and relevant partners undertaking another public engagement exercise to raise awareness of childhood obesity before the pre-election period began in March; and that the work to address childhood obesity could also be linked with the ongoing work to improve children’s oral health across the borough.


It was RESOLVED that progress report on the prevention work stream within the Brent Local Health and Care Plan be noted.

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