This year’s Annual Public Health Report for Northumberland focuses on the wider (or social) determinants of health - the so called ‘causes of the causes’. It explains how the unmet needs in communities (deprivation) are measured and why that may not effectively reflect the challenges facing rural communities. It also describes some of the demographic challenges facing the county in terms of the urban/rural split. The report explores education, employment, housing and transport as wider determinants of health in more detail and outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of the impact of these determinants in the rural context. It also identifies the contribution that the NHS may make to addressing issues around the wider determinants of health. The Council already recognises many of the challenges of rurality and examples of some of the initiatives that are already in place have been showcased.
Finally, the report highlights some of the opportunities that may be presented through, for instance, North of Tyne devolution and makes a small number of recommendations on how the Northumberland system can contribute to improving health and wellbeing through action on these wider determinants.