Subregion’s hospitals commit to preventing ill-health by adopting NHS Prevention Pledge

Eight NHS hospital Trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside have formally adopted the NHS Prevention Pledge, and in doing so make a firm commitment to not just treating illnesses, but also preventing them.

The NHS Prevention Pledge has been commissioned by Cheshire and Merseyside’s Population Health Board aims to reduce of the impact of ill-health on NHS services, whilst also improving the overall health of the population.

Cheshire and Merseyside’s NHS hospital trusts adopt NHS Prevention Pledge

The adoption of the pledge within trusts is led by The Health Equalities Group (HEG), a health and wellbeing alliance that designs, develops and evaluates evidence-based programmes and policies that seek to tackle non-communicable diseases and health inequalities. HEG works closely with the Trusts to ensure the necessary work is carried out to adopt the NHS Prevention Pledge and to offer a variety of tools and guidance to ensure the adoption is a success.

The Pledge itself is underpinned by 14 ‘core commitments’ that have been developed by HEG following extensive consultation with Trusts, NHS England and Improvement, local authority public health teams, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and third sector organisations. The commitments cover the following key themes:

  • Promoting workforce development, quality improvement, workplace health and wellbeing
  • Embedding brief advice and making every contact count (MECC) across all services
  • Promoting healthier lifestyles for patients and visitors including healthier catering, smoke-free environments, active environments
  • Enhancing anchor institution practices and sign up to C&M Social Value Award
  • Using Marmot principles to address health inequalities
  • Signing up to the C&M Concordat for Better Mental Health
  • Embedding prevention within governance structures

Representatives from the eight Trusts who have adopted the Pledge gathered at a ‘community of practice’ meeting held at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital on 25th May to celebrate formal adoption of the NHS Prevention Pledge. Trusts formally adopting the NHS Prevention Pledge at the event included:

  • Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust,
  • Liverpool University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
  • Warrington and Halton NHS Teaching Hospitals Trust

Dave Sweeney, Associate Director of Partnerships for the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, said:

“It is hugely encouraging to see the amount of work provider trusts from across Cheshire and Merseyside have undertaken over the last 18 months to embed policies and actions promoting prevention of ill health, reduction of health inequalities and generation of social value through their operations.

The NHS Prevention Pledge has allowed trusts to bring together both existing and new actions prioritising prevention under one framework, benefitting patients, visitors, staff and those living in local communities served by trusts. The NHS Prevention Pledge will be recognised as a key principle for trusts adopting the new Anchor Institution Charter for Cheshire and Merseyside that will be launched in July this year.”

The NHS Prevention Pledge framework and adoption process has also recently been independently evaluated by Professor Sir Michael Marmot’s team at the Institute of Health Equity, finding that:

“Trusts report that the prevention pledge is a useful mechanism to collate and present their actions on prevention and has helped them focus their actions on prevention, inequalities and social value. Trusts stated the prevention pledge allowed them to better understand the level of prevention work they’d already been doing and helped them to better guide future work and push the Trust to go further.”

For further information on the NHS Prevention Pledge, please contact Matthew Philpott from health Equalities Group:

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The NHS Prevention Pledge 14 ‘core commitments’

  1. Prioritise a long-term focus on well-being, prevention and early intervention ensuring health in all policies; embedding prevention within our governance structures, appointing an Executive Sponsor for prevention (including MECC) and making ‘prevention everybody’s business’
  2. Create the conditions to support service managers and staff teams to take a quality improvement approach to review and transform services to embed prevention
  3. Guided by Marmot principles; develop approaches to prevention, working with our partners ‘at place’, to address inequalities & deliver local priorities and prevention ambitions set out within the NHS Long Term Plan & in COVID recovery plans
  4. Work in partnership in the utilisation of common prevention pathways across Trusts, supporting secondary and tertiary prevention that reduces the impact of established disease through lifestyle advice and cardiac or stroke rehabilitation programmes
  5. Increase social value by establishing anchor practices, that positively impact on the wider determinants of health & the climate ‘health’ emergency, when making decisions on procurement, purchasing and through our organisation’s corporate social responsibilities
  6. Systematically adopting and embedding a ‘MECC approach’ from commissioning contracts to service delivery, increasing the number of brief or very brief interventions with patients supporting them to eat well, be physically active, reduce harm from alcohol and tobacco and promote mental well-being
  7. Work with primary care, local authorities and VCSO’s to systematically refer to sources of non-clinical support through social prescribing, aligned with community capacity building & to reduce impact on GP consultation rates, A&E attendance, hospital stays & re-admission, medication use, and social care
  8. Support workforce development, providing training and/or resources to frontline staff to offer brief advice and/or referral in supporting patients to eat well, be physically active, reduce harm from tobacco and alcohol and promote mental well-being
  9. Ensure a smoke-free environment, linked to support to stop smoking for patients and staff who need it
  10. Provide workplace health programmes for NHS staff and foster an organisational culture that promotes workplace resilience and creates opportunities for staff to eat well, be active, reduce harm from tobacco and alcohol and promote mental well-being
    1. Review food and drink provision across all our NHS buildings, facilities and providers in line with Hospital Food Standards and the NHS Standard Contract, to make healthier foods and drinks more available (including vending and onsite catering), convenient and affordable and limit access to less healthy foods and drinks such as those high in fat, sugar and/or salt
    2. Increase public access to fresh drinking water on NHS sites (keeping single use plastics to a minimum) and encouraging re-useable bottle refills
  11. Support the sub-regional physical activity strategy; to promote and create opportunities for staff, patients and visitors to be physically active both on and off site and in line with active travel and sustainable management plans
  12. Sign up to the ‘Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health for All’ and to embed the Prevention Concordat across health and care policies and practices.
  13. Monitor the progress of the Pledge against all commitments and to publishing the results of our progress at regular intervals