A report was presented to provide Members of the Health Scrutiny Panel with a range of information extracted from various sources to assist in the consideration of suitable topics for inclusion in the Panel's Work Programme for 2018/2019.
The submitted report contained a list of potential topics for review, updates arising from previous reviews, suggestions from the Leadership Management Team (LMT), as well as topical issues provided by members of the public, councillor officers, elected Members, voluntary and community sector organisations and Healthwatch.
Members discussed the list of topics and the Director of Public Health provided updates and further information as appropriate.
The Chair advised that subsequent to the work programme report being written, there had been significant press coverage both nationally and locally in respect of the issue of childhood obesity. It was also evident that in other areas of the North East local authorities, including Gateshead and Newcastle City Council, had adopted Hot Food Takeaway Supplementary Planning Documents (HFT SPDs). These SPDs set out their councils approach in relation to planning control of hot food takeaways and were considered as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications for such uses. In Gateshead, for example, the Hot Food Takeaway SPD was adopted by Cabinet in June 2015 and included the following consideration; planning permission will not be granted for A5 use in wards where more than 10% of the year 6 pupils were classified as obese. It was acknowledged that obesity and being overweight were recognised as a major public health challenge for all local authorities and tackling growing obesity levels remained an important Local Authority duty.
The Director of Public Health acknowledged work was being undertaken with colleagues in the planning department to address this.
A policy relating to takeaway proliferation and the impact on health had been included in the preferred options for the local plan, which was currently out for consultation. The current confinement of takeaways to commercial centres provided for an effective control and the local plan would seek to include the limitation of new takeaways. It was noted that the percentage value was yet to be set and would be determined once comments from the consultation had been collated.
Colleagues from the Public Health and Public Protection team would be meeting to discuss the local plan and agree a position. It was noted that nationally there was guidance in regards to planning and health however it was up to each local authority to put this into practice, which is what Middlesbrough was working to achieve with the takeaway policy. The panel was informed that the adult overweight rate for Middlesbrough in 2016/17 was 65.4% compared to an England average of England 61.3%.
In terms of overweight and obesity rates in Reception (4/5 year old) and year six the panel was provided with a breakdown of the figures by ward. Members expressed the view that it was extremely helpful to be provided with this information, as the figures were stark. The England average obesity figure for reception aged children in 2014/15 to 2015/16 was 9.34%. The Middlesbrough average was 12.67%, with some wards including Berwick Hills and Pallister (15.34%), Brambles and Thorntree (15.3%) and North Ormesby (17.7%) all above 15%. Similarly the England average obesity figure for Year 6 pupils in 2014/15 to 2015/16 was 19.64%. The Middlesbrough average was 22.67%, with some wards including Central (26.90%), Newport (27.99%) and Berwick Hills and Pallister (25.65%) all above 25%. In response to the information provided Members expressed the view that the Council should adopt a similar HFT SDP to Gateshead Borough Council.
The following topics were proposed for review:
1. Vulnerable and fragile health services
2. Suicide prevention with a focus on self-harm
3. Childhood obesity
AGREED that: -
1. The topics listed at 1 to 3 above, would be submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Board for approval and inclusion in the Panel's Work Programme for 2018/19.
2. An update report would be provided to the panel on review work undertaken in 2017/18 including Transforming Care: Improving respite opportunities for people with learning disabilities, complex needs and autism and Breast Radiology Diagnostic Services in South Tees.
3. That regular updates would be provided by the Director of Public Health and South Tees Integration Manager in respect of the work undertaken by the South Tees Live Well Board.
4. That the Health Scrutiny Panel submit a formal response to the Local Plan preferred options consultation to strengthen local policy on improving access to healthier food and reducing access to unhealthy food outlets.
5. That a recommendation be forward to the Executive that on the issue of Hot Food Takeaways the Council adopt the policy approach undertaken by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead City Council to restrict the proliferation of hot food takeaways (A3, A5 and B3) in any ward where the obesity level is higher than the national average.
6. That all hot food takeaway applications (A3, A5 and B3) be subject to a health impact assessment by the Director of Public Health and Public Protection.
7. That consideration be given to amending the scheme of delegation for the Planning and Development Committee, to ensure that any planning application which fails the health impact assessment be referred to the Planning and Development Committee for Member consideration.
8. That all Councillors be provided with a breakdown of Middlesbroughs childhood obesity rates by ward.