Director of Public Health annual report (2020-21)

Foreword and Introduction

I am delighted to present my Director of Public Health report for the year 2020-21. This is my first annual report for the county of Wiltshire and what a challenging year it has been.

Given the events of this past year, it was a clear choice to focus this report on COVID-19.

2020/2021 has been dominated by the pandemic, presenting an unprecedented challenge for everyone - both locally, nationally and indeed across the world. The Wiltshire Public Health team and wider council staff have worked in partnership with local agencies and community members to tackle the spread and impact of the virus. The magnificent team response achieved during the past year has relied upon the strong networks we already have here in Wiltshire. I believe we have shown how, in a time of genuine crisis, our Wiltshire population can come together to work efficiently and creatively to provide support to those most in need.

Wiltshire's response to COVID-19 is summarised at the start of this report by a timeline of events demonstrating the breadth of work that was required to navigate the demands of the pandemic. Wiltshire Public Health team
also continued to deliver priority services alongside the COVID-19 response. These included services that supported areas of heightened vulnerability such as substance misuse, mental health and domestic abuse.

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on health inequalities that exist in our communities and we have seen locally how certain populations have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This report focuses
on some of the most vulnerable groups that were affected by COVID-19 in Wiltshire and the important steps taken to minimise the impact.

It has been truly inspiring and heart-warming to see how the Wiltshire community has pulled together during such sad and devastating times. Whilst the standard of health in Wiltshire is generally very good compared to that nationally, we still have plenty of work to do to ensure healthier lives for all. I look forward to building on the strong foundations created during this past year to ensure that the immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic, as well as the health inequalities that exist in our communities, are fully addressed.

Kate Blackburn,
Wiltshire Director of Public Health