Healthy lives, healthy communities
What do we know about health and wellbeing in Gloucestershire?
What is public health?
Public health is about preventing disease and helping people live healthier and longer lives by providing the information and support they need to do this.
We are responsible for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of the local community.
A key focus of public health is reducing inequalities in health between different groups of people and communities.
In our role we work with several partners in a variety of ways. These include:
- Providing a range of help for people from how to stop smoking to making healthy decisions about lifestyle
- Addressing the factors which contribute to ill health rather than treating people when they have already become ill
- Protecting individuals and communities from infectious diseases or environmental hazards
- Making sure the county is prepared for possible emergencies which might impact on people's health
- We have an advisory role assisting organisations who plan and provide health care to understand the health needs of the local population and plan services to meet those needs.
Your community's health
Overall health in Gloucestershire is good and generally better than the England average; however like everywhere, the health of some of our communities is not improving at the same rate as others. A key focus of public health is reducing inequalities in health between different groups of people and communities.
If you're interested in health trends in Gloucestershire or need the latest data and information then visit Inform Gloucestershire.
Our research is used to look at the health and wellbeing needs of residents to help the Health and Wellbeing Board decide which areas to prioritise. It also support's Gloucestershire's Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). This brings together information on local health and wellbeing needs.
The JSNA also looks at emerging challenges and future needs to guide the planning of health and wellbeing services in Gloucestershire.
Public Health Leadership
Who is responsible for public health in the county?
- The Cabinet Member - Public Health and Communities
- The Director of Public Health (DPH) acts as the principal adviser on health to the county council.
- Additional professional support is provided by Public Health England (PHE), a national body which reports to the Department of Health.
Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership
Suicide remains a national and local public health priority. Reducing the suicide rate in Gloucestershire has been identified as a key area for improvement in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
At its July 2015 meeting, the Gloucestershire Health & Wellbeing Board approved the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Strategy - July 2015 to June 2020
The strategy seeks to outline the shared aim of preventing suicide in Gloucestershire. The strategy has been created by, and is accountable to, the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum (GSPPF).
The GSPPF comprises partners from public, private and the voluntary and community sector, as well as people with lived experience, who have worked together to co-produce the strategy.
You can find out about some of the work that the GSPPF does here .
If you would like to know more or get involved in this work, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note this email address shouldn't be used in emergencies - it is not monitored 24/7 and doesn't provide immediate help or support.
If you need help in an emergency contact emergency services on 999.
What can you do to look after your health?
NHS Health Checks
Are you aged 40-74 years?
Then you could be due your FREE NHS Health Check which aims to prevent and detect cardiovascular diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes; and help you to lower your risk. Ask your GP for more information.
Find out more about NHS Health Checks, what they look for, what happens when you visit your GP practice and what to expect after your health check via NHS Choices
We want people to know that diseases such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes can often be prevented, even if there is a family history of them. It's never too late to make a difference to your health.
- Want to make a change to your lifestyle (e.g. stop smoking, lose weight, be more active, drink less or eat well) find out more about what you can do and local support available on Living a healthy lifestyle
- Discover leisure opportunities in your local area:
The NHS provides a number of screening programmes. Screening improves the chances of early identification of a disease or condition and can improve health outcomes or reduce complications.
Screening tests are not perfect, occasionally some people will receive a “false-positive” or “false-negative” result and so people should remain aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for.
Below is an overview of the current screening programmes offered in the NHS. More information about screening, including the benefits and risks and details of each screening programme can be found on the NHS Choices Live Well pages.
Non-cancer screening programmes
Screening in pregnancy and in infancy
Tests during pregnancy aim to identify any health problems which could affect mum or baby. These include tests for infectious diseases, Downs syndrome or physical abnormalities. Newborn screening tests include a physical examination, hearing screening and newborn blood spot screening which checks for nine serious but rare health conditions.
Diabetic eye screening - all people with diabetes aged 12 and over are offered an annual diabetic eye test to check for early signs of diabetic retinopathy.
Abdominal aortic anomaly screening - offered to all men in their 65th year to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms (a dangerous swelling in the aorta). Men over 65 can self-refer.
Chlamydia screening - Gloucestershire residents aged 16 to 24 year olds can visit the Hope House website to request a testing kit. The kit will arrive in discreet packaging with a postage paid return envelope. Results and health advice will be issued by text message or email.
Cancer screening programmes
Cervical screening - for women aged 25 to 64; it is offered every three years for those aged 26 to 49, and every five years from the ages of 50 to 64.
Breast screening - for women aged 50 to 70 to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women over 70 can self-refer.
Bowel screening – a home testing kit is provided to men and women aged 60-74. A new screening test is gradually being rolled-out to men and women aged 55, this ‘Bowel Scope Screening’ uses a thin flexible tube with a camera on to look at the large bowel.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
Mental wellbeing describes your mental state - how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.
The Mental Health Foundation suggests ten simple things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing. More details about these steps can be found at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health.
1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Sometimes, you may need additional support and there are lots of organisations, both in the statutory and voluntary sector, that can be contacted for help. Many of these can be found here
Let’s Talk supports people with a wide range of emotional and psychological problems, using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a talking therapy that has been proven to be effective in managing anxiety and depression. CBT helps you manage your problems by helping you make changes to the way you think and behave.
Your GP can refer you or you can refer yourself. More information is available here - https://www.talk2gether.nhs.uk/ or you can call 0800 073 2200.
“Self harm” describes behaviours that can cause injury or danger to yourself. Gloucestershire County Council commissions the Self Harm Helpline (provided by Rethink Mental Illness) to provide support and information to people who self harm, their friends, families and carers. They also speak to professionals who may want to know more about self harm.
The helpline is available every day between 5pm and 10pm:
Telephone: 0808 801 0606
Text: 07537 410022
Webchat/online message: https://www.gloucestershireselfharm.org/
The website also has a wealth of information and some downloadable resources.
Keeping your children healthy
There is a lot of information out there to help you keep your children healthy. We’ve brought together some tools and information here. You can browse health advice on the NHS choices website.
Having a baby
Find information about having a healthy pregnancy and feeding your baby
Make sure your child is up to date with their vaccinations. You can use this handy personalised vaccination planner
Any changes you make to your child's diet and lifestyle are much more likely to be accepted if they involve the whole family.
Try the ‘be food smart’ app for healthy tips and fun activities:
Health and wellbeing for teenagers
Find targeted advice for teenagers including information about healthy relationships, sex and growing up.
Living a healthy lifestyle
The lifestyle choices we make for ourselves and for our family can dramatically impact on our health in later life. There are lots of great reasons to make lifestyle changes; we all have things that we want to be healthy and well for and that are important to us, whether that's in the short or the longer term.
Making positive changes to our diet, activity levels, alcohol consumption and stopping smoking now can have a massive impact in the longer term and can help reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer.
It’s not all about the future though; changing your lifestyle has immediate benefits. You may find that you feel less stressed, that you sleep better, look and feel much better in yourself. Whether you would like to lose weight, stop smoking, become more active or drink less alcohol, Gloucestershire’s Healthy Lifestyles team is on hand to help and support you.
Living a healthy lifestyle is not just important for ourselves but also for our families – encouraging the whole family to live a healthy lifestyle as well as living a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy can impact on the health of our children into their adult lives.
Encouraging our families to eat well and be active, as well as supporting a good oral health routine can improve the health of our children in many ways, for many years to come.
Drug and alcohol recovery service
If you think you’re drinking too much alcohol, visit the Healthy Lifestyles website for information about how you can cut down.
Having a problem with drugs or alcohol can seriously damage your health.
We have a free and confidential drug and alcohol recovery service in Gloucestershire, provided by change, grow, live (cgl). cgl provides information, support, advice and treatment for adults (including offenders), their families, carers and others close to them. For more information visit https://www.changegrowlive.org/content/cgl-Gloucestershire.
There is dedicated substance misuse support for young people aged 10-19, provided by our Youth Support Team. For more information visit https://youthsupportteam.co.uk/services/health.