A new strategic health intelligence unit has been established to help improve health outcomes for local residents.

The Prevention and Population Health Unit, a joint initiative between the City of Wolverhampton Council and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, aims to help health and social care services better identify the needs of the local population, and shift the focus from treatment to prevention and early intervention.

It has seen council Population Health Intelligence Specialists Jason Gwinnett and Karla Bailey and Consultant in Public Health Kate Warren embedded in the Trust, using data from service providers across the city to help guide the planning and delivery of care to achieve the maximum impact on the health and wellbeing of local people.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "In the past, it was often the case that the data we looked at in Public Health would tell us in isolation about the people who use a particular service, or have a particular illness.

"Through the new Prevention and Population Health Unit, we can start to piece together a richer picture of the health and needs of particular groups of people, helping us to think clearly about how services can wrap around people and better meet their needs. 

“The Prevention and Population Health Unit will tackle some of the big, strategic questions that can support decision makers. Are the right people receiving services at the right time or can we intervene earlier? Have the changes we made resulted in any difference? What would happen if we invested more of our budget in a different part of the pathway? 

"The answers to these questions will help to improve the decisions that are made about health and care provision across the city in years to come, laying the foundations for better outcomes in the future."

Consultant in Public Health Kate Warren said: "Already the insight we have provided has helped the Trust to develop its policy around managing tobacco dependency, and in developing a smoke free culture across primary and secondary care. 

"We have provided strategic intelligence using the Trust’s data from primary, secondary and community services to identify needs, review current service usage, and make recommendations for how health and care services can make the biggest impact on health outcomes for people living with frailty. 

"We have also worked with clinical leaders to help them to understand patterns of health and disease in the population, and to appreciate the role of wider determinants of health such as education, housing and poverty."