Health Promotion Service

About Berkshire Health PromotionWho Are We? Berkshire Health Promotion (BHP) is a part of the multi-disciplinary Public Health function for Berkshire. It is a specialist Health Promotion service working with all Berkshire organisations concerned with educating, promoting or improving the health of the local population. The Berkshire Health Authority sets the professional agenda and the service is currently managed by the East Berkshire Community Health (NHS) Trust, but this role will transfer to a Primary Care Trust on 1st April 2001.

It is also an ‘Associate Institution’ of Reading University and is located on the London Road campus in Reading.RationaleThe work of BHP is strategic in nature and focuses on supporting and developing public health/health promotion interventions aimed at disadvantaged and priority sectors of the community. It carries out this work, in line with Government White Paper directives (‘The New NHS- modern & dependable’, Dec 1997., ‘Smoking Kills’, Feb 1999 and ‘Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation’, June 1999), by developing alliances with primary care, local authorities, the voluntary sector, schools, local employers, local media etc. Philosophy The department uses the ‘Ottawa Charter’ as a philosophical framework:”Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realise aspirations, to satisfy needs and to change or cope with their environment. Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday living, not the objective of living. 

Health is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities. Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy life-style to well-being”.(World Health Organisation conference statement – Ottawa Charter, 1986)Partners Our role is to, not only, support and develop the health promotion role of NHS practitioners but also to engage other statutory and non-statutory bodies in improving the health of the population. Many of the determinants of health (community/home/road safety, housing, environmental health, education etc) lay within the remit of local authorities. To this end BHP increasingly works with non-NHS agencies, that have a core remit influencing the health and wellbeing of the population.Core Role(2000-2001 priorities are Coronary Heart Disease, Mental Health and Healthy Schools) 

Strategic planning (long-term, integrated, multi-agency reorientation of services)Programme management (piloting & implementation of new initiatives)Monitoring and evaluation (ensuring evidence-based best practice)Education and training (for professionals & volunteers)Resources and information (provision of leaflets, learning resources, equipment, public campaigns, newsletters etc). Advice and consultancy (to professionals, planning groups, agencies)(from ‘Assuring Quality in Health Promotion, by Evans, Head and Speller, published HEA)Review and ReorganisationA review of Berkshire Health Promotion Services was carried out at the end of 1999. It aimed to ensure that cost-effective support was being provided to NHS and partner agencies, in line with local Health.

Improvement (HImP) priorities. The main findings of the review were that:

Stakeholders, such as primary care groups (PCGs) and local authorities, are increasingly involved in health promotion. The core functions of the specialist health promotion service should respond to local needs by providing professional advice and practical support to help key stakeholders plan, commission and provide health-promoting services.The key organisations should have access to specialist health promotion expertise.Local commissioning of the service should be steered by a management board with members drawn from key stakeholders to ensure that health promotion expertise is more closely integrated with planning and delivery of services at a local level.

A Primary Care Trust (PCT) should act as lead agency to manage the service to maintain a critical mass of health promotion specialists, provide specialist activities across a wider geographical area and economies of scale.More emphasis should be placed on providing health promotion expertise at a local level.Current health promotion budgets to be maintained and allocated between stakeholders on the basis of need.Berkshire Health Authority should identify the expertise and resources needed to support strategic and performance management of health promotion and health improvement.Action taken so far:A Joint Management Board has been established. It is  taking a multi-agency approach to planning and commissioning until the proposed transfer of Berkshire Health Promotion to a PCT scheduled for 1 April 2001. 

 The management board has agreed three priority areas for work for 2000-2001.These underpin the HImP programmes across Berkshire and reflect locally identified needs, they are:

Lifestyle – tackling coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer by  targeting smoking, diet and exercise. Mental healthHealthy schools.

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