Preventing ill-health will improve lives, reduce pressure on services and save money
Everyone knows prevention is better than cure. The prevention workstream is focused on ways we can improve health and well-being.
These days we know more than ever before about how to:
- Stay well and healthy
- Age well
- Live well with long-term conditions
- Stop flare-ups
- Get the most out of medical treatment.
That’s why we are asking everyone who lives or works in Kent and Medway to play their part in improving health and well-being locally: professionals, the public and patients. Doing more to prevent ill-health will help us to improve lives, reduce pressure on our services and save money.
The aims of the prevention workstream are to:
- ensure that preventing illness is at the forefront of local policy planning and commissioning of all clinical pathways across Kent and Medway
- support people to increase their sense of control and resilience in their lives
- take action to tackle specific challenges to population health and wellbeing
- promote action that will help people with long term health conditions to be able to self-manage. This will enable individuals to be more independent and prevent or reduce the need for health and care services
- prevent or reduce the need for health and care services
- reduce health inequalities across Kent and Medway.
What have local people told us?
In a recent survey, hundreds of you said you are keen to improve your own health, particularly by losing weight and taking more exercise. Lack of willpower and time, and issues caused by health conditions you already have, are the main things that stop you.
We are going to:
- Make it easier for you to find out about small changes in everyday life that can improve your health, and services to support you, such as healthy weight teams
- Train public sector professionals to use every contact with you to check how you are and give tailored advice
- Create many more opportunities for you to quit smoking
- Give training on living well with health conditions, such as diabetes
- Make sure you know what to do if your health problem flares up
- Encourage you to get into the best possible shape before surgery.
What have we done so far?
- Some district councils have already trained their staff to make every contact count.
- We’re working on a plan to expand this
East Kent, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals have recruited specialists to improve the support midwives offer mothers-to-be to stop smoking. The other hospitals are following soon
- The Kent Public Health team is working with vape shops in Ashford to encourage their customers to contact stop smoking support services
- The Medway Public Health team has trained hundreds of health champions – including hairdressers
- Smoke-free school gates projects in Canterbury and Medway harness children’s creativity to encourage parents to quit.
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Our prevention workstream is led by the two Directors of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, Kent County Council, and James Williams, Medway Council. Its vision is for care to shift from looking after people when they fall ill or lose their ability to live independently to supporting people to stay well in body and mind.
One of the big targets for the STP is to reduce the number of smokers in the population as a whole and, particularly, in expectant mothers.
The council public health departments and the NHS have jointly been trying out a new way of targeting pregnant women in Medway, South Kent Coast, Swale and Thanet, with a very personalised service.