The role of the Director of Public Health encompasses three domains, namely Health Improvement, Health Protection and Healthcare Public Health.
•Health Improvement constitutes improving the health and wellbeing of the population (everyone that lives, visits or works in Gibraltar). The role encompasses individual behaviour change, as well as working with agencies and government to create systems that improve health-related behaviours, such as ‘Minimum Unit Pricing’, or ‘Cycle to work Schemes’, ‘Promoting better food consumption behaviours’ etc.
•Health Protection comprises protecting the people from imminent threats to their health and includes control of infection and environmental hazards (such as radiation, ensuring safe water, high quality food), immunisation and screening to protect people from hidden health problems.
•Healthcare Public Health encompasses protecting the people from the harm caused by poor health & social care services, assessing and benchmarking healthcare activity, using agreed metrics, including outcomes and outputs, having accurate healthcare data e.g. death certification, fostering an improvement culture in the health sector; and promoting an evidence-based culture that includes creating and supporting audits, research and teaching.
HEALTH & LIFESTYLE SURVEY
‘Our Nation’s Health 2021’, a Health & Lifestyle Survey of the local adult population focused on collection of information on the social and behavioural factors such as eating habits, drinking, smoking, exercise, etc. that influence health, such as health related attitudes and experiences in Gibraltar.
This survey was designed, managed and the data analysed by Public Health Gibraltar. Some key findings of the population of Gibraltar included:
- 65.5% are overweight or obese.
- 82% eat less than five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
- 5% get less than 4 hours sleep per night; 32% have worse sleep than they did before Covid.
- 27% exercise for at least 20 minutes more than five times per week.
- 23.5% currently smoke; 3.5% use e-cigarettes.
- 34% drink at least one alcoholic drink per week.
- 6% gamble more than once per week.