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County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust signs up to the Public Health Responsibility Deal

dame carol blackCaption: County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust Chairman Tony Waites signs up to the Public Health Responsibility Deal with Dame Carol Black, left, and chief executive Sue Jacques, centre


THOUSANDS of staff are being helped to make healthier lifestyle choices thanks to the work of a North-East hospital trust.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has signed up to the Government's Public Health Responsibility Deal to play its part in improving public health.

The deal, backed by the Department of Health tsar on work and health Dame Carol Black, consists of a series of voluntary pledges designed to tackle big health issues including alcohol, mental health, food, health at work and physical activity.

Every year physical and mental ill-health loses the country £100bn in sickness and absenteeism and costs health services £107bn.

The Foundation Trust has already made inroads into improving these statistics locally by delivering its Better Health at Work award scheme.

To date 36,587 employees have benefited from the programme, which offers advice and guidance on issues ranging from exercise and diet to occupational health, rehabilitation and support.

Foundation Trust health improvement lead Vicky Waterson said: "Public health is everyone's responsibility and there is a role for all of us to tackle these challenges

"The Better Health at Work Awards have been incredibly successful in boosting both physical and mental wellbeing among the region's workforce and we are currently actively supporting 80 companies who have signed up to the scheme."

The Better Health at Work Awards are supported by a team of dedicated health improvement specialists and practitioners who deliver services to workplaces in County Durham and Darlington offering health checks such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, seasonal flu vaccinations, physiotherapy and securing specialist advice on a host of health issues.

The trust has also registered 454 workplace health advocates, 439 of which have received workplace health improvement training to better enable their organisations to achieve bronze, silver and gold level accolades through the award scheme.

"The new Public Health Responsibility Deal aims to tap into the potential for all businesses and other influential organisations to make a significant contribution to improving health and wellbeing," added Vicky.

"The challenge now is for even more businesses to sign up to the scheme to improve the health of their workforces and for employees to take up the opportunities to change their behaviour.

"Employees of any organisation are their biggest resource and it is vitally important that we embed the importance of ensuring their health and wellbeing needs are being addressed."

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham