Working together to improve public health and wellbeing

Development of consensus statements

NHS England has published consensus statements with fire and rescue services and the ambulance service.  We are currently working with the police service to develop a consensus statement.  These statements encourage local areas to develop joint strategies for opportunity and intelligence-led prevention and health improvement.  Their intention is to ensure that people supported by our organisations get the personalised, integrated care and support they need to live full lives, sustain their independence for longer and in doing so we will improve the public’s health and reduce unnecessary demand on health and social care.

Working with the ambulance services

NHS England launched a joint Consensus statement with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and other partners. This statement reflects the evolving role of the ambulance service as a mobile healthcare provider using the richness of expertise residing in its workforce to help keep people well.

Further information about the support for this is available from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives website.

NHS England’s Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said: “The vision for the Ambulance Service: ‘2020 and beyond’ includes an increasing role in prevention and health promotion. This consensus statement reflects the evolving role of the Ambulance Service as a mobile healthcare provider using the richness of expertise residing in its workforce.

Providing a clear statement on the joint national approach, highlighting our shared purpose and commitment to Making Every Contact Count and setting out the scale of the opportunity available, will help both realise the ambulance vision ‘2020 and beyond’ and support the increased focus on integration and prevention as set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View. It will help ensure that outcomes for patients are improved and resources across the healthcare system are utilised more effectively. It also recognises the need to broaden and deepen the involvement of the voluntary sector in developing solutions.

We are delighted to be a part of this consensus statement translating plans Into reality”

“All of these organisations have come together”, says Dr Anthony Marsh, Chair of AACE, “in recognition of the responsibilities we jointly hold in respect of population health and the opportunities open to us to both promote good health and to prevent ill health. We are committed to contributing to these aims through proactive and pre-emptive means, as much as we are responsive to those needing urgent and emergency care and treatment. We look forward to working with our voluntary organisations in particular, to increase the impact we can have by engaging in new public health initiatives collaboratively”.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director, Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England added, “Ambulance staff come into contact with the public millions of times each year and could be playing an even bigger role in helping to provide health promotion advice, care and support. These everyday interactions represent opportunities to start important conversations with people struggling with substance misuse or mental illness or those at risk of cardiovascular disease, social isolation or falls. PHE is pleased to be working with ambulance services and the other partners signed up to this consensus statement to really make sure that every contact counts.”

This work builds on the success of the work with the Fire and Rescue Service who published a consensus statement in October 2015

Why work together?

There are common underlying risk factors which increase demands on all services such as the number of long-term conditions, mental health conditions, cognitive impairment, smoking, drugs or substance misuse, physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, loneliness and/or social isolation, cold homes and frailty. By identifying people with these risk factors and taking a whole system approach to interventions which are centred on peoples’ needs, we can make every contact count, irrespective of which service it is from.

For example the risk for someone over the age of 65 of dying in a fire is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages. Fire service teams not only reduce the risks of a fire, they aim to reduce health risks such as falls, loneliness and isolation which will also reduce unplanned admissions and help people to stay in their own homes safely and for longer.

Supporting people to live longer, healthier lives

With the shared underlying risk factors and our individual resources, collectively we can support people to live longer, healthier lives, through an integrated approach to enhanced public health and prevention through better co-ordination and early identification and intervention. We can do this through our commitment to Making Every Contact Count (MECC). We can tackle health inequalities by supporting the most vulnerable people to improve their health and wellbeing and better deliver high quality person-centred care for all, including those at the end of life helping achieve long-term sustainability for the health and care system and the wider economy. Our collective workforce contacts provide millions of opportunities to engage with the population and support positive behaviour change, and to also bring positive impact to our own staff’s health and wellbeing.

Supporting local action and flexibility

The consensus statements describe our intent to work together to encourage and develop joint strategies for opportunity and intelligence-led prevention and health improvement.  Their intention is to ensure that people supported by our organisations get the personalised, integrated care and support they need to live full lives, sustain their independence for longer and in doing so we will improve the public’s health and reduce demand. We are sharing a national consensus and impetus in supporting local action and flexibility. We are sharing examples of good practice which encourage local organisations to work together more effectively in partnership and to consider seeking greater integration of services where possible.