ChallengeFive Public Health consultants have been appointed to increase capacity in public health across the North East and North Cumbria. Funded by NECS, the Public Health consultants are working across the North East and North Cumbria health and care system, as well as providing population health expertise within NECS.
The consultants bring strong health intelligence and technical skills to their roles, as well as population health insight into the planning and delivery of care, and the ability to support the delivery and development of the best value services.
The role of the consultants varies between different Trusts, flexing to meet the Trusts’ priorities and the skills and experience of the individual consultants. There are areas of common work across all consultants and work towards a common
approach across the system for some areas. Regular networking meetings between the five consultants and colleagues in similar roles in other Trusts also provide significant shared learning.
In particular, the consultants have been supporting Trusts in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In North Tees, Peter Acheson, with previous health protection and pandemic experience, has provided testing and infection control advice, including PPE, together with general sense checking and horizon scanning.
In Sunderland and South Tyneside, Ryan Swiers chaired the Trust’s psychological support group and provided research, modelling and bed planning, as well as a health and wellbeing strategy.
In County Durham, consultant Edward Kunonga has been working with colleagues in NECS to support CCGs, Public Health and Social Services in a joint response to Covid-19, addressing the interdependent issues that affect vulnerable and at risk people’s health and wellbeing. The initial pilot work was completed in County Durham covering a population of over half a million and linked primary care data to social care data. A population health management approach was used to design and target multiagency interventions to protect and meet the immediate and ongoing health and wellbeing needs of the most vulnerable people.
In addition, the consultants spend a small portion of their time for the first year working with NECS colleagues to support the system. For example, the consultants are working in partnership with the local Public Health teams and supporting the
development of the North East and North Cumbria ICS Population Health Management programme.
The NECS Customer Board is delighted to have been able to invest its Transformation Fund in the appointment of five new Public Health Consultants to support hospital and mental health Trusts to further develop their prevention and health improvement programmes for patients, their families, their staff and the wider population.
Working with senior clinicians, managers and healthcare professionals on complex issues where public health input is required, the consultants provide recommendations regarding services, patient care, estate and the wider determinants of health. These include the innovative use of clinical information and implementation of new tools to assist in decision making, forward planning and service monitoring and evaluation.
The key priorities and deliverables may include, depending on Trust priorities and the consultants’ expertise:
• Providing input into the trusts’ response to the current COVID crisis.
• Delivering the public health strategy for participating Trusts, with a clear work plan for implementation.
• Developing health improvement by leading and supporting the evidence based public health programmes for patients, carers and staff ensuring effective dissemination of good practice.
• Providing scrutiny on tackling and reducing health inequalities.
• Developing public health capacity through contributing to education and training and development within the organisation workforce and networks
• Effective working with local authority Public Health teams, local Health and Wellbeing Boards, Public Health England, and NHS England and NHS