Category Archives: News

London Association of Directors of Public Health Position statement on Climate Change and Public Health

We, the members of the London Association of Directors of Public Health declare a climate and health emergency.

As the UK hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), we as public health professionals are committed to collective, long-term actions that create a healthier, fairer and environmentally sustainable London.

Climate change and health are inextricably linked and already affecting Londoners.

Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions impact human health and quality of life in our neighbourhoods as well as contributing directly to climate change. London’s air quality is poor to the extent that all school children in London breathe air that currently doesn’t meet the WHO’s clean air standards. In recent years, life in the city has been impacted by severe heat waves and increasingly frequent flooding.

Importantly, the impacts of climate change do not affect us all equally but put the heaviest burden on those who are most vulnerable, such as people in low-income, minoritised, disabled and marginalised groups.

London is a global city with a projected population of 11 million by 2050. There are increasing demands on natural resources, space, water, food and energy supplies, aggravating the effects of climate change on our citizens, so we must rise to the challenge.  At a global scale, climate change leads to increased spread and emergence of infectious diseases and pandemics, to food and water insecurity and increasingly to climate change induced displacement, migration and socio-economic instability.

But there is much that can be done and positive actions we can take. Every choice we make as professionals and institutions, and as individuals and communities, has the power to create a more sustainable London and a healthier planet.

Action on climate change is action on health. Making walking and cycling easier in London will improve the quality of the air we breathe as well as physical and mental health through increased physical activity. Creating a greener and more biodiverse London will help lessen the effects of extreme heat and flooding as well as improve the quality of our lives and that of future generations of Londoners. Crucially, this transformation of our systems must be equitable, inclusive and co-created with communities if we are to narrow rather than exacerbate social and health inequalities. A healthier future is within our grasp.

In response to this climate and health emergency we will:

  • Explain the link between climate change and health in a clear and accessible way.
  • Highlight the benefits for health that result from action on climate change and action to achieve environmental sustainability. 
  • Improve the available evidence on co-benefits of actions on climate change and public health.
  • Use our expertise around equity to ensure that the effects of climate change on groups and individuals in London are clearly understood, and actions responsively designed and implemented.
  • Ensure that local communities are actively engaged in creating solutions towards a healthier and more sustainable London.
  • Work across sectors and with environmental champions to build a unified voice in calling for equitable climate action that puts health first.

There is no longer any dispute around the urgency of action on the climate emergency – the time to act is now.

Cleaning up London’s air : LEDNet/ADPH London Joint position statement

LEDNet and the London Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH London) have revised their joint position statement on air quality. Following the first wave of the pandemic we are living in the new norm and therefore must look at sustaining behaviours that contributed to the positive changes to air quality where possible, and address the health inequalities that have been observed.

  • You can download the full joint position here
  • You can download the executive summary here

Policy position: Supporting Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted, and in some cases worsened health inequalities amongst certain groups in England. Following the release of the Public Health England (PHE) Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’ and Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups in June 2020, the Build Back Fairer: COVID-19 Marmot Review in December 2020, we have seen the impact on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities with higher case rates and deaths compared to the White population.

Actions are already taking place at local and regional level to reduce the disproportionate impact, but the pandemic has shone a light on structural racism and health inequality, and its roots associated with the immediate and structural factors that have impacted ethnic minorities and require long term change. Racism is a public health issue and it is vital that we develop approaches to take action to mitigate any further widening of inequalities.

In February 2021, ADPH London released a position statement, highlighting the following five themes:

  • Trust and cohesion
  • Improving ethnicity data collection and research
  • Diversifying the workforce and encouraging systems leadership
  • Co-production with communities
  • Embedding public health work in social and economic policy

Following this statement, ADPH London have been developing a set of actions for delivery and/or influence over the next five years. Click here to see our action plan, where we plan to deliver in collaboration with local and system partners.

Integrating Care – ADPH London response to the NHSE/I ICS consultation

This response is from the London Association of Directors of Public Health, which represents the professional collective response of Directors of Public Health in London local government. At a local level, individual boroughs will submit their own responses to the consultation. Please see ADPH London response here

Integrating Care – Next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems across England. This document builds on previous publications that set out proposals for legislative
reform and is primarily focused on the operational direction of travel. It opens up a
discussion with the NHS and its partners about how ICSs could be embedded in
legislation or guidance. Please find document here.


Association of Directors of Public Health London (ADPHL) position statement on reopening of primary schools

The national announcement on the 30th of December limiting opening of primary schools to help prevent the spread of coronavirus has only been applied to 23 London Boroughs.

Eight London boroughs and the City of London have not been directed to keep primary schools closed for the next two weeks, despite high case rates and high percentage changes in case rates, with little to distinguish them from neighbouring boroughs where schools will remain closed.

ADPH London’s professional advice is that in the context of the current pandemic situation, this measure should be applied to London as a whole for two principal reasons.

Firstly, many primary school children will be going to schools outside their borough and may travel from boroughs with even higher infection rates, where schools are closed, to attend school in neighbouring areas, potentially spreading infection as they do.

Secondly, the data on which the decisions to include or exclude boroughs is subject to significant change from day to day meaning that differences in actual infection rates between boroughs may be smaller or larger than they appear.

We, therefore, advocate that the principle to delay the reopening of primary schools should apply to all boroughs across London at the same time, if the measure is to have the impact of limiting transmission across London and keeping staff, children and our communities safe.

Reference:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948580/Contingency_framework_implementation_guidance.pdf

ADPH London response to Planning White Paper

The living environment has a major impact on health and wellbeing, and planning is a key instrument to shape this. Click here to read our response to @MHCLG proposals to overhaul the planning system, the risks and opportunities for health and our recommendations to Government.

ADPH London Statement: Responding to the announcement that Public Health England (PHE) is being replaced by a new National Institute for Health Protection

ADPH London have worked in partnership with PHE since its inception and across its full range of functions including health protection, health improvement and data, intelligence and evidence  in order to protect and improve the health of London’s communities, and to help place population health at the heart of policy and decision making in the capital.

Over the past 6 months, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this collaboration has intensified and the expertise, commitment, hard work and camaraderie of PHE colleagues has been instrumental in supporting Local Authority Public Health Teams to respond to the pandemic, and to put in place the prevention and control  measures necessary to protect Londoners now and in the future. We have immense respect for the skill, dedication and professionalism of our PHE colleagues and deeply value working with them over this exceptional period.

It is therefore with surprise that we hear of this announcement during such a critical time of outbreak preparedness in London and nationally, and the lack of transparent and robust underpinning analysis, or system engagement, that we would expect to see informing such a decision. We are inevitably concerned about the possible disruption this could cause to the crucial Public Health system working arrangements that are in place in London.  We offer our utmost support to our colleagues impacted by these changes in what are already exceptionally difficult and highly pressured circumstances, and thank them for their professionalism and commitment as they continue to deliver their vital work serving the population of London at this time.

Our immediate priority remains to work with partners across the whole public health system to continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and address the wider impacts on health exacerbated by this disease.  We are also committed to working with our colleagues across the whole Public Health system locally, regionally and nationally to help shape future arrangements to protect and improve the health of Londoners.

Note: This response is from the Association of Directors of Public Health for London, which represents Directors of Public Health (DsPH) in London’s 33 local authorities and supports them to improve and protect the health of their local populations

Award for London Smoking Cessation Transformation Programme (LSCTP)

The Stop Smoking London “Amazing Things Happen” campaign was awarded Bronze at the LG Comms Excellence Awards on Tuesday 5th November. A judging panel from LG Comms, the Local Government Association and Government Communication Service – reviewed more than 80 campaign entries and shortlisted us amongst 20 other winners. The judges said that this was “an extremely well executed campaign with some excellent graphics, messages and digital assets”.

The campaign was developed for the London Smoking Cessation Transformation Programme (LSCTP), commissioned by the London Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH London), to direct Londoners to the Stop Smoking London offer and increase uptake of local and regional services. It was designed upon research commissioned by the Programme which looked into the values and motivations of London smokers. This insight informed all aspects of the campaign – from the design and messaging, to the channel choices and timing. This has led to some fantastic outcomes – the click-through-rate from the digital adverts to the website was 0.29% – double that of the previous year.

An ongoing series of national monthly surveys of smoking and quitting, conducted by the UCL, has found that the implementation of the Stop Smoking London programme was linked to a 10% increase in the quit attempt rate in the first year of its operation from 2017-18. And that this increase was sustained in 2018-19. This increase has largely been attributed to the media campaign. An increase of this size would be expected to result in an additional 3,000 or so quit attempt in 2018-19.

Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health, London Borough of Tower Hamlets & London Association of Directors of Public Health Lead for Smoking Cessation and Tobacco Control said “We are delighted by the fantastic recognition of the Amazing Things Happen campaign and how well and thoughtfully it has been executed. The partnership approach taken by Directors of Public Health in London facilitated by ADPH London has been critical to our success in developing this campaign and making inroads with London’s smoking population.”

New helpline service supports Londoners to quit smoking

A new Stop Smoking London Helpline service, proudly funded and supported by 30 London Boroughs, has been launched by the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) London. It forms part of an initiative aimed at finding new ways to help smokers in London who want to quit and has been developed as part of the Stop Smoking Plus model by Professor Robert West of University College London.

The helpline provides a convenient way for Londoners to access good quality, specialist advice on how to quit smoking. It’s also a gateway to finding out more about the range of free and varied support available across the capital.

Trained advisers will work with smokers to understand their habit and signpost them to help in their local area, or offer them the opportunity of telephone-based support if they qualify.

Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health at Tower Hamlets Council and smoking cessation lead for ADPH London, said: “The aim of the Stop Smoking London helpline is to provide a convenient way for Londoners to get access to high-quality, specialist advice on how to quit smoking. Telephone-based support fits well into people’s busy lifestyles, and is perfect if you’ve always wanted to stop smoking, but aren’t sure how, need regular motivation or someone to give you tips and advice about willpower and other issues associated with quitting.

“If you’re a smoker who wants to kick the habit, you’re not alone. We know there are around 1.3 million smokers in London and roughly one in three of you want to give up. And it’s highly likely that you’ve tried to at least once already. If this is you, don’t let this dishearten you – you can succeed at quitting, and research tells us that you’re much more likely to with the right support.”

Cllr Kevin Davis, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said: “Boroughs are committed to playing their part in improving the health and wellbeing of Londoners. The introduction of this smoking cessation phone line will bring us one step closer to a cigarette-free capital.

“This solution to accessing services demonstrates our commitment to seek innovative ways to develop an alternative response for people to access help, whilst also taking into account the daily pressures of busy life in the capital.”

Smokers can call the local rate number seven days a week – Monday to Fridays from 9am to 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 4pm. For more information about the range of support available for smokers, they can visit www.stopsmokingportal.com.

They will be able to speak to a professionally trained advisor to find out what support is available in their area and establish which quit methods will work best, from different types of medication, to mobile apps and specialist programmes.

If smokers live in a participating borough, they will be able to get support from a specialist advisor offering regular one-to-one support over the phone. This means they will be able to arrange call backs at regular intervals throughout their quit attempt.

According to official figures from the Annual Population Survey (Local Tobacco Control Profiles) smoking prevalence in London was 15.2% in 2016, and declining at a rate of 3 percentage points every 4 years which would put prevalence below the target of 5% by 2030.

Stop Smoking London has been developed through the London Smoking Cessation Transformation Programme, which aims to help people in London to stop smoking. It is funded by 30 London boroughs and commissioned by the London Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH).

 

Award for London Sexual Health Transformation Programme

London Sexual Health Transformation Programme wins industry award

A unique partnership of 27 London councils has received a prestigious award from the Municipal Journal (MJ) for ‘Reinventing Public Services’.

The London Sexual Health Transformation Programme is a collaboration of 27 London boroughs working together to transform the way sexual health services are provided in the capital. They have engaged with patients, clinicians, politicians and commissioners to modernise sexual health services across London.

This has involved developing a new e-service, updating the way local face-to-face services are delivered, agreeing a new clinical specification to ensure best practice and changing the way services are paid for to better reflect the cost of the care being provided.

The online service will allow patients to access information online and register to receive self-sampling kits, reducing the need to attend clinics.   An easy-to-use website will guide people through a risk-assessment process to identify the most clinically appropriate tests for their individual needs. A self-sampling kit will then be posted to them which they can complete in the privacy of their own home, before sealing it and dropping it off at a post box.

Mike Cooke, Chief Executive of Camden and chair of the Transformation Programme said: “Lots of people have worked very hard to deliver this programme and we are all extremely pleased to have won this prestigious award.  This is an excellent example of what local authorities can achieve when we work together.  It is an important step forward as we develop sexual health services across London.  27 boroughs have worked together with clinicians and patients to ensure that we can deliver the best outcomes possible.”

170619 MJ award pic FINAL 

Above: The award is presented by Joanna Lumley to representatives of the programme.  From left to right: Joanna Lumley, Anna Bryden, Jonathan O’Sullivan, Melanie Smith, Gaynor Driscoll, Jan Clark, Mary Cleary Lyons, Mike Cooke, Simon Reid, Ruth Hutt, Laura McGillivray, Adrian Kelly.