The Director of Public Health Annual Report 2015/16

Making Dudley a great place to grow older

As people age, they are free and able             to choose how they live their lives

Foreword - Deborah Harkins

Director of Public Health, Dudley

This is my first Public Health Annual Report since I took up post in Dudley in February 2015. It is three years since Dudley Council took on much greater responsibility for the health and wellbeing of its population, including the transfer of public health services from the NHS to the Council. When I arrived in Dudley I was delighted to find examples of how different parts of the council and our partners in the NHS and voluntary sector are contributing to improve health and wellbeing in the community.





However there is still more that we can do to capitalise on the opportunities that being located in the council provides, particularly to address the root causes of poor health and wellbeing. Being part of Dudley Council enables us to integrate action to protect, improve health and wellbeing and prevent ill health into children’s services, services for vulnerable adults and older people’s services, and to create healthy places that are designed so that people are safe, active and can connect with others. In order to do this, the public health team is taking a life course approach to addressing priority health and wellbeing challenges.

Evidence tells us that the determinants of health and wellbeing impact on us across our lives, and that there are particular stages in our lives when influences on our health and wellbeing accumulate. These stages include pregnancy, the first year of life, teenage years (particularly school leaving age), becoming parents, retirement and older age. Interventions to keep people safe and well and prevent illness can work best when they take a life course approach, particularly when they include a comprehensive programme of action to address the root causes of ill health, build resilience and support healthy behaviour. This approach also makes it easier to integrate health and wellbeing interventions with NHS and social care pathways for children, adults and older people.

In Dudley we do not currently have a comprehensive approach to healthy ageing and perhaps because of this, we do not perform as well as we should on a number of indicators that affect older people such as falls prevention, affordable warmth and end of life care. At the same time we know that our older people make an enormous contribution to the community and local economy, through working, volunteering, providing care and sharing their experience, skills and passion with family, friends and neighbours. The number of older people in Dudley is increasing and therefore this positive contribution can grow in the future. If we tap into this potential there will be benefits both for older people and our borough as a whole. However to do this we need to support our older people to be and feel well.

This report will therefore focus on healthy ageing. It will make the case for an integrated healthy ageing programme and will set out our four goals for ageing well in Dudley. Each chapter will focus on one of the four goals and will make recommendations for action that the council and our partners can make to support healthy ageing. The resources available to the public sector to address healthy ageing and our other priorities are reducing and the recommendations in the report aim to set out how partners in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors can work together to make the best use of our existing collective resources and assets to enable older people to age well.

My sincere thanks go to Dr Mayada Abu Affan (Consultant in Public Health Medicine) and Clare Evans (Public Health Programme Manager) who have led the production and editing of the report. I would also like to thank the rest of the team who have contributed to content and design of this report: Angela Moss, Greg Barbosa, David Pitches, Diane McNulty, Sarah Humphries, Dean Hill, Shamil Haroon and Paul Grove.  Thanks also to all of the people from across Dudley who have contributed case studies and valuable insight to the report including members of Dudley Older Peoples Forum,  Paul Grainger and the Living Well Feeling Safe team, the parks team, tutors for the Self Management Programmes, Tandrusti staff and participants. Thanks also to Marie Spittle of Access  and Prevention in Dudley Council and to the communications team at Dudley CCG for their helpful comments on the report.

I hope you find this report useful and that it stimulates you to think about how you can support healthy ageing in Dudley. I would very much welcome your feedback on the report - please email any feedback to -


Deborah Harkins

Chief Officer Health and Wellbeing (Director of Public Health)



Councillor Rachel Harris

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing

As the Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Chair of Dudley Health and Wellbeing Board, I would like to take a few lines to commend a thoughtful consideration of this new approach to ‘Healthy Ageing’ to anyone with an interest in improving life quality and overall health in our borough.





The journey to embed the realisation that resident’s health and wellbeing is what we all ‘do’ in the borough is now under way.  The message is not just resonating with those frontline public services that reach into the community or traditionally designated delivery partnerships. It is stimulating new ways of working that challenges old boundaries and perceptions of how public services should be provided for individuals and their families.

This report gives a glimpse of how those changes are happening and realises the potential still available despite falling budgets for publicly funded services. Rather than ageing being viewed as an inevitable, negative part of our future that we may dread or be unprepared for - I hope you will work with us and share your own ideas about keeping Dudley as a borough where ageing and older people are valued as a positive part of everyone’s life experience and our communities.


There are 64,000 people in Dudley aged 65 and over (and 121,000 people aged 50 and over). Together these people make an enormous contribution to life in our borough.


Older people in Dudley contribute significantly to the local economy. About a third (39,000) of people aged 50 and over in Dudley are in paid employment and they make up 27% of the borough’s workforce.



Our healthy ageing goals

Click on each of the buttons below to find out more about our healthy ageing goals.

Conclusion & Information

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