MIDDLESBROUGH Council and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council agreed on Tuesday (11 July) to join their public health services into one.

The decision has been passed by both councils’ cabinet and executive in a bid to improve the health and wellbeing of residents, reduce health inequalities for the local population, and make the service more cost-effective.

The Joint Public Health service will deliver the same functions and duties to its residents such as providing guidance on physical activity, nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight; supporting those with addictions to drugs, alcohol or tobacco; and improving emotional wellbeing. Other areas of public health which will be carried over include reducing social isolation and giving children the best start in life.

Following engagement and consultation between staff and stakeholders, the new arrangement is expected to be implemented on 1 April, 2018.

Although there are examples of joint public health services nationally, this will be the first joint public health service in the North East.

Councillors Lynn Pallister and Julia Rostron have stressed that public health is a top priority. Cllr Pallister, Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Welfare at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “I am passionate about reducing health inequality and poverty in our boroughs and beyond, and I am pleased to be collaborating with our colleagues at Middlesbrough so we can achieve this aim together.

“We will be working closely with our partners, such as the NHS across South Tees, Teesside University and our voluntary sector organisations. These partnerships will help us share knowledge and expertise on initiatives and services for the benefit of all our residents.”

Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “We face many of the same challenges as our neighbours in Redcar & Cleveland, so it makes sense to join forces and strengthen the service we can deliver for all residents.

“Public health is at the top of the agenda at the moment, and there is a great deal we can do to reduce health inequalities, help people live longer and improve their quality of life. This joint approach will ensure we maintain the focus on prevention and plan jointly for services reducing duplication, making effective use of limited public health expertise and improving outcomes.”

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