Directorate of Public Health

Drew Walker
The purpose of our directorate is to improve health and wellbeing in the population of Tayside, prevent disease and minimise it consequences, prolong valued life and reduce inequalities in health.

The directorate's current priorities are

  • Blood Borne Viruses and Sexual Health
  • Early Years and Young People
  • Health Protection
  • Healthy Working Lives
  • Mental Wellbeing
  • Nutrition/Obesity and Breastfeeding
  • Oral Health
  • Physical Activity
  • Screening
  • Smoking
  • Substance Misuse
  • Vulnerable Groups

We aim to provide for our staff:

  • Consistent, honest and supportive leadership and management
  • A workplace free of discrimination and harassment
  • Fair treatment, dignity and respect
  • A healthy and safe workplace
  • An environment where expression of views and initiative are encouraged
  • Mechanisms for consultation regarding key decisions
  • Adequate resources to fulfil their role
  • Support and encouragement to learn and develop
  • Recogntion for effort and achievements
  • Effective, appropriate communication

Director of Public Health's Annual Report

Welcome to Tayside's Director of Public Health's Annual Report.  We hope that you find it interesting and helpful.  The content is entirely dependent on the input of a number of colleagues within the directorate and elsewhere.

In previous years, the Report covered all priority areas of work undertaken by the directorate.  To keep the Report to a manageable length heavy editing of its content and limited coverage of each topic area has been necessary.  Previously we have been asked to cover a smaller number of topic areas in more detail so this year we have chosen to focus on a selection of topics.  Next year we will focus on a different selection of topics, so that over a three to four year cycle we will cover all of the priority areas of work of our directorate with our partners.

Each priority area in the Report highlights recommendations for action.  We will advocate their progress and comment in next year's Report on the extent to which these recommendations have been implemented.

Tackling health inequalities is central to the public health agenda.  Four years ago the Health Equity Strategy - Communities in Control - was published.  The stated objective was to eliminate health inequalities in Tayside within a generation.  Although that objective remains ambitious, there is clear evidence from around the world that it is achievable if everyone acts together to that end, at a local and national level.

The actions required by local agencies were:
  • Targeting of health improvement programmes towards those most in need, particularly towards our most socioeconomically-deprived communities and families.
  • Targeting of health and other service in the same way.
  • Similar targeting of 'co-production' and 'asset-based approaches' by public sector agencies in partnership with the communities of Tayside.
  • Early intervention in the Early Years.

Last year an audit/stock take was undertaken to find out where we had got to in Tayside in tackling health inequalities and moving towards health equity.  Numerous examples of encouraging progress across all of Tayside was found and much of that activity is making a real difference to people who are experiencing the greatest inequities.  However, it was also found that progress was greater and more rapid in some areas than in others.  In the areas where progress has not been so substantial, the organisationl culture around targeting of services and programmes towards those most in need has not been as receptive as it needs to be to deliver on what is a very radical strategy.  The job of the Director of Public Health over the coming years, and the job of other senior colleagues across the local partnerships, will be to re-energise our equity-focused work so that it becomes a core part of how all public sector organisations, including hospitals, work on a day-to-day basis.  The audit/stock take will be repeated in a couple of years' time and it is hoped to be able to report much more progress by then.

I hope you will be struck by the high quality of work being undertaken by the directorate and our partners across Tayside and by the encouraging progress being made across a wide range of very complex topics.  Of course much more remains to be done, but much has already been achieved, and on behalf of the citizens of Tayside I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and significant achievements in at times very difficult circumstances and in very challenging financial climate.