People are being encouraged to have their say over wide ranging plans to transform public health services in Wolverhampton.

The City of Wolverhampton Council is seeking views from the public, key partners and other stakeholders about how its public health professionals can work more closely with other organisations in the City to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents, and prevent people from developing poor health in the first place.

The consultation, now underway, is also looking at the way the council delivers specific services, and how they should be provided in the future.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Although our public health services have worked diligently in recent years to improve the health and wellbeing of local people, we are now at a point where we have to change the way we operate if we are going to have a greater impact.

"Traditionally public health services have been focused on helping individuals to stop smoking, lose weight and so on. However, the things that most affect people's health - and prevent them developing poor health in the first place - are their lifestyle choices and fundamentals such as having a good education, good jobs, housing, income and living environment. If we can get these things right, people will find it much easier to maintain good health.

"Our vision is therefore for our public health experts to work more closely with other parts of the council, the NHS and the voluntary and community sectors so that, together, we can find ways of improving health for everyone in Wolverhampton.

"To this end, we are already working more closely with planners and developers to ensure they consider how they can help improve the health of the local population, for instance by creating walking routes within new housing estates. This new way of working has also led to the introduction of new planning guidance which will help limit the proliferation of new hot food takeaways in the City.

"We need to extend this impact further, and want people's thoughts on how we can make public health everyone's business."

At the same time, the consultation is seeking views on how people access support, information and advice around breastfeeding, stopping smoking, child weight management, infection prevention and emotional health and wellbeing among young people, and proposes a number of new ways of working in each area.

Councillor Sweet added: "We know that some of the services we traditionally provide have, for whatever reason, not had the desired effect, and so are exploring new ways in which people can improve their health outcomes.

"For example, the vast majority of people who want to quit smoking nowadays tell us they want to do it on their own or with the help of e-cigarettes, rather than by taking part in a formal smoking cessation programme as may have traditionally been the case.

"At the same time, we know that fewer young people now smoke than ever before, and so demand for formal support is dropping, too. We are therefore looking at how we can give people the type of support they are willing to engage with."

To take part in the consultation, please visit Type=links;Linkid=10018;Title=Consultation - Transforming Public Health Services;Target=_blank;, email or call Ravi Seehra on 01902 558657. The closing date for comments is 12pm on Monday 19 February, 2018.

Councillor Sweet added: "We want to hear what people think of our plans because public health is everyone's business, and so I would encourage them to take part in the consultation."

  • released: Wednesday 17 January, 2018