Agenda item

Report of the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity, presenting the Public Health Annual Report for 2017/18, attached.


The annual report is a separate document and is available at



(Councillors Biederman, Dewhirst, Hannaford, Hodgson, Greenslade and Whitton attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).


The Cabinet considered the Report of the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity, presenting the Public Health Annual Report for 2017/18, which was available at


The Annual Public Health Report was the eleventh in a series of annual reports on the health of the population of Devon which began in 2007-08.  Over that period, there had been extraordinary improvements in the health of the population of Devon.  The pattern of disease had changed over the years – while life expectancy had increased, as modern medicine developed new techniques and treatments, so had the prevalence of long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, arthritis and dementia.  The health of the population of Devon generally compared favourably with other parts of England and Wales with the exception of some aspects of mental health, and deaths from skin cancer, strokes and falls.


This Public Health Annual Report considered the health and wellbeing of children and young people. As children grew up, research had shown that early influences on health could have life-long effects. Investing in the health and wellbeing of children would result in long-term population benefits and the Report acknowledged that growing up in a loving, nurturing and safe family environment was part of the child developing into a healthy, happy adult. Conversely those on the receiving end of harmful adult behaviours (such as substance abuse or domestic and sexual violence and abuse) could themselves replicate those behaviours and continue the cycle. Feedback from such people cited a lack of early recognition and support, highlighting the importance of prevention and early intervention. To quote Frederick Douglass ‘it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’.


Last, the Report focussed on the long-term impact of poverty and disadvantage on the health and wellbeing of children, and to wider society, which was one that had a financial as well as a human cost.


In debating the Annual Report, Members acknowledged the state of health of children

and young people in Devon and welcomed the recommendations to improve the health and

wellbeing of the next generation.


The recommendations within the Report covered a range of matters including reducing the number of children living in poverty / poor housing, improving the health of women before,

during and after pregnancy, increasing breastfeeding rates, improving communication skills, promoting healthy eating, improving oral health / dental hygiene in children, increased levels of physical activity, promoting good emotional wellbeing, ensuring access to quality sexual health advice / services, ensuring that personal, social and health education (including relationship issues) was provided to all children, reducing the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs, ensuring all children benefited from immunisation, preventing accidental injury and harm, improving the care of children with long-term health conditions, supporting adults in tackling behaviours that were associated with harm to children, reducing the attainment gap between people from the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups, improving the health, wellbeing and life chances of the most disadvantaged children and improving the experience of children with special needs, adopting a “child health in all policies” approach and to improve the collection and analysis of data to better inform decisions on how to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people.


The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability, carbon impact, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Chief Officer’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:


It was MOVED by Councillor Croad SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and


RESOLVED that the Report be welcomed and published.


[NB: The Report referred to above can be viewed at:




Supporting documents: