Work starts on ambitious health plans
Work is underway on ambitious plans to transform the traditionally poor health of the north east.
The area's first ever vision for health and wellbeing aims to make people living here the healthiest in the country over the next 25 years.
Advisory groups to take forward work on the ten key theme areas identified in Better Health, Fairer Health have already made good progress.
These efforts to improve public heath are being bolstered by a vision of NHS services in the north east which looks at developments over the next decade and identifies improvements to be made in the shorter term including:
- significant resources and effort to be focused on preventing ill health and working to improve health and wellbeing
- personal health and wellbeing plans to be devised for everyone deemed to be at risk of suffering from ill health
- NHS staff will be trained in basic public health education to support health improvement in every contact with people
Smoking remains the north east's biggest killer with 5,500 people dying from related illnesses every year - that's more than alcohol, HIV, drugs, suicides and accidents put together.
And half of the 11-15 year olds who currently smoke in the north east will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases if they are unable to quit.
Although the north east saw the biggest drop in smoking rates of any English region from 2005 - 2009, efforts to reduce the harm it causes continue.
Find more information about tobacco control in the region and details of local NHS stop smoking services.
The north east has some of the highest levels of childhood obesity in the country and extra funding fom the Department of Health is helping us to tackle the problem.
Work is underway to ensure a regional, coordinated approach to care and treatment and to establish consistent referral routes for current and future 'at risk' children. An action plan has been established to build on successful local initiatives already in place.
- developing interventions to support potential mothers before they get pregnant
- supporting health and social care staff in raising awareness
- encouraging more mums to breastfeed by producing written guidelines
- developing guidelines for brief interventions with high numbers of people
- establishing a regional care pathway group
A regional office for alcohol called Balance was launched in 2009 with director Colin Shevills at the helm.
Based in Durham, it leads the development of treatment services, campaigns on alcohol issues and builds a strong support base across all sectors.
The office also coordinates social marketing, lobbying and regional action to tackle high rates of consumption as well as alcohol-related injury and illness, crime and violence.
As part of this, innovative campaigns have been developed to change behaviour, encourage sensible drinking and reduce the harm caused by alcohol.