Mixed picture for Cambridgeshire in new public health report

Public Health England

Public Health England - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council has been shown to be among the best performing authorities for breastfeeding and childhood obesity in a national report.

But the council must improve its work in air quality, tobacco control, and drug treatment, areas in which it scored poorly in the report.

Public Health England published the 2016/17 Public Health Dashboard on July 12, comparing local authorities on how they deliver preventative local health services for 0-5 year olds, child obesity, drug and alcohol misuse treatment, tobacco control, NHS health checks, sexual health services and air quality.

The dashboard gives each local authority a ranking for each service area and shows how it compares nationally and with similar local authorities, based on information from 2016/17. Similar local authorities to Cambridgeshire include Oxfordshire, Warwickshire Northamptonshire and Suffolk

Cambridgeshire is in the ‘best’ category nationally for childhood obesity and best start in life ranking second and fourth out of 16 similar councils respectively.

The data shows that for rates of childhood obesity at age 4-5 years, Cambridgeshire ranks third out of 16 similar authorities, while for 10-11 year olds Cambridgeshire has the best ranking in the group.

Statistics show that out of seven similar councils which submitted data on breastfeeding, Cambridgeshire is second for the number of women breastfeeding at 6-eight weeks with 56.1 per cent.

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However, Cambridgeshire is in the worst category, ranking 14th out of 16 similar councils for tobacco control, although the county is better than the national average on this measure. Cambridgeshire is also in the ‘worst’ category for drug treatment services. An issue with waiting times for treatment in 2016 affected the ranking.

Public Health England also included an interim measure for air quality, where Cambridgeshire ranks 14th out of 16 similar local authority areas. This is based on the proportion of residents in the county living in an air quality management area.

Dr Liz Robin, Cambridgeshire County Council’s director of public health, said: “We’re pleased to see we have performed well in providing services that tackle childhood obesity, giving children the best start in life and a number of other measures. We recognise there is still work to do in some of the other categories including tobacco control, drug treatment and air quality. We will be working hard with partner organisations to improve in these areas, to ensure people in Cambridgeshire have healthier outcomes for everyone.”