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
In 2008, the Gibraltar Health Authority carried out a Health & Lifestyle Survey of the local adult population.
The Survey was aimed at understanding the levels of perceived health in the resident adult population and to study its health-modifying lifestyles, such as eating habits, drinking, smoking, exercise, etc.
The Survey was designed, managed and analysed by the GHA Public Health department, supported by two local commercial firms.
For the survey, we randomly selected 725 persons over 18 years of age who were resident in Gibraltar and sent trained surveyors to administer questionnaires at their homes. In total, 406 adults responded. No identity details were recorded.
Although the findings of a sample-based survey can never be delivered with absolute certainty, it was found that the 3% sample was strongly representative of local people, and when taken with the high response achieved (55%), this means that the findings of the Survey can confidently be used to predict the behaviour of the whole population.
Over 28,000 pieces of information were analysed to produce the findings of the Survey. Its results are revealing, fascinating, affirming and sometimes even shocking.
For example :
- 60% of the Gibraltar population (3 out of every 5) are Overweight or Obese.
- 29% of the population are current smokers, more than in the UK.
- The proportion of people who exercise intensively decreases steadily with age.
For those interested in learning more about the findings of the survey, the report can be downloaded on the link below.