WORK has begun to develop a Public Health Plan for West Sussex, involving councils, the NHS and the voluntary sector.
Organisations met at an event to look at developing the plan, and explore what it might mean for residents.
As part of the Government’s proposed reforms to the NHS, responsibility for public health will transfer from NHS West Sussex to West Sussex County Council by 2013.
West Sussex already has a director of public health and wellbeing working jointly across NHS West Sussex and West Sussex County Council.
Partnership work is also increasing with the introduction of the new health and wellbeing hubs across the county, and the creation of the county’s health and wellbeing board.
Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “Working to improve public health in West Sussex is something that involves everyone, local councils, the NHS, the voluntary sector and our local communities.
“Public health is very important, but is something that no one organisation can tackle alone.
“It’s something we all need to get involved with to encourage healthier lifestyles and living.”
Initial work is taking place under different themes including carers, alcohol, emotional wellbeing, ready for school, and ageing population.
A draft plan should be ready by the autumn with the council aiming to have a final version signed off by the end of the year.
Judith Wright, West Sussex director of public health and wellbeing, said: “Public health is everyone’s business and involves the efforts of a number of different agencies, communities and individuals.
“It is important that we focus those efforts to achieve the kind of real improvements in people’s health that we want in West Sussex.
“The event was all about us coming together to agree what we need to focus on and how we can make a difference to the lives of our residents. It was a really positive day.”