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Improving health and wellbeing – principles and approach

Although our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) tells us that overall health in South Gloucestershire is good and we are living longer, significant health challenges remain in terms of improving healthy life expectancy and mental health and wellbeing, and reducing preventable disease and inequalities in health.

Our health is influenced by many factors including our age, sex and genetics, our lifestyle choices, and our social circumstances and environment as well as the health and care services we have access to. These challenges have interlinking causes and solutions are complex.

Age,l sex and hereditary factors

Understanding the impact of these wider determinants of health is important because it helps us to view health and wellbeing more holistically and identify opportunities for prioritising our resources, policies and actions as we look to prevent, rather than treat or manage, health needs.

This figure shows a model of estimates of the relative contributions of the determinants of health from a recent influential piece of research from the US. Although differences between the US and England mean that this model cannot be directly applied to South Gloucestershire, it is a useful model for understanding the relative contribution of these different groups of determinants.

estimates of the relative contributions of The determinants of health

The approach to improving health and wellbeing set out in this strategy acknowledges these wider determinants of health. We know that prevention and early intervention, compared with treatment, is cost-effective and that action across organisations and policy areas is required to improve population health as well as individual behaviour change.

In the current climate of increased demand and fewer resources, it is also important to encourage and empower individuals and communities to be actively engaged in their health and wellbeing.  This requires a shift in thinking about our relationship with communities; from seeing ourselves as needing to “provide to” communities to empowering communities to be part of the solution, encouraging the development of community networks, listening and working together.

Working together we can succeed in making South Gloucestershire an even better place to live and work. This strategy cannot be delivered without the commitment of everyone. The strategy sets out how we will work collaboratively to improve everyone’s health and wellbeing.


All our actions are based on and will be delivered following these key principles:

Prevention: our actions should facilitate healthy lifestyles to keep people in good health and prevent poor health and wellbeing.

Early intervention: the right conversations in the right place at the right time to minimise risk and maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of services and support.

Making Every Contact Count: recognising and using day-to-day interactions that organisations and individuals have with other people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Promotion of independence and self-care: all individuals, families and communities should feel able to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and live their lives as healthily and independently as they can.

Life-course approach: actions, and the way in which services are commissioned, should recognise that many poor outcomes result from an accumulation of factors and poor life chances over time.

Equity: provision of services should be proportionate to need and targeted to the areas, groups and individuals that need them most.

Evidence: actions should be informed by the best available national and local data, research, evidence and the experiences of residents, as captured in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA).

Innovation: we will be creative in our actions, introducing, testing and evaluating new methods and ideas to add to the evidence base.

Safety and safeguarding: ensure the most vulnerable are safe and protected from abuse and neglect.