Health Improvement

“ The main function of health improvement is to find ways of preventing ill-health, protecting good health and promoting better health…This is achieved by working with local communities and organisations across public, private and voluntary sectors to address the personal, socio-economic and cultural factors that influence the health of each person. Relevant interventions are at individual and group level, (inter) organisation, community, whole population and systems." (NHSGGC Health Improvement Policy Framework)

The Public Health Agency has responsibility to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. Improving health is the responsibility of a whole range of staff however to support the Northern Trust becoming health improving, there are dedicated health improvement staff based in a central location covering specific health related topics or taking a lifecourse approach.

Sexual health is a term used to describe the aspects of our health and wellbeing that are associated with sexual thoughts, feelings, identities and behaviours and the impact they have on us. Often sexual health is considered only in relation to negative physical outcomes such as unwanted pregnancies, HIV and sexually transmitted infection acquisition and the effects of abusive or unequal relationships. However being sexually healthy means we have a positive sense of self, emotional wellbeing, strong relationships and friendships, and take control of our safer sex needs.

Improving sexual health requires a multi-faceted approach that simultaneously works at a political and strategic organisational level and supports the design and operational implementation of practice at community, group and one to one level interventions designed to positively influence behaviour.

The Health Improvement - Sexual Health approach works to enhance the knowledge and skills of the wider health improvement workforce to enable the planning, delivery and evaluation of interventions designed to empower people to make informed sexual and relationship choices on the basis of accurate information, a positive sense of identity, skills, and an understanding of rights and responsibilities. The focus is to improve the sexual health, wellbeing and relationships of people in Northern Trust area and to reduce inequalities in sexual health and adverse sexual health outcomes.

What we aim to achieve:

  • Contributing to organisational strategies and policies to address sexual health
  • Raising awareness with the public on important sexual health issues through supporting campaigns
  • Providing quality information to the public on sexual health.
  • Improve the quality and consistency of Sexual Health and Relationships taught in schools and ensuring that parents and carers feel able to reinforce this learning at home.
  • Ensuring professionals working with those most at risk of sexual ill health are trained and confident to raise sexual health issues and provide appropriate support.
  • Working to ensure sexual health interventions are evaluated and informed by the best available evidence

The work carried out by Health Improvement is informed by regional strategic documents known as strategies. The current main strategic document for sexual health is Sexual Health Promotion Strategy and Action Plan 2008 - 2013 which is to be read with the Progress & Priorities: Addendum to Sexual Health Strategy to Dec 2015

However sexual health does not exist in isolation and a lot of the Trust's work is informed by other strategies: Promoting Mental Health 2008-2013
New Strategic Direction for Alcohol & Drugs Phase 2 2011 -2016
Suicide Prevention Strategy

To bring the strategies together locally we have a Northern Area Sexual Health Implementation Group. This group has written a local action plan and all work carried out is monitored against this document. This group also gives opportunities to discuss and develop responses to emerging issues. Organisations both statutory and voluntary/community have opportunities to find ways of working together to address issues and share best practice.

Page last updated:23 December 2014