Question on Public Health Campaigns in Wales


Dydd Mercher, 28 Tachwedd 2012
Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Mark Drakeford: A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am ddatblygu ymgyrchoedd cenedlaethol iechyd y cyhoedd yng Nghymru.
[Will the Minister make a statement on the development of national public health campaigns in Wales.]

Lesley Griffiths: The Change for Life campaign is supporting people to achieve a healthy bodyweight, to eat well, to drink sensibly and to be more physically active. Around 42,000 families and adults are active members. The Fresh Start Wales campaign is raising awareness of the harm caused by second-hand smoke in cars, particularly to children

Mark Drakeford: The most recent national public health campaign, the Love Your Lungs campaign, has just completed a fortnight of activity across Wales. It brought together Public Health Wales and the third sector, through the British Lung Foundation, and was delivered on the ground by the network of community pharmacies in every part of Wales. Do you believe that this tripartite partnership provides a template for the successful delivery of national public health campaigns in the future?

Lesley Griffiths: Yes; absolutely. I was very pleased to see a broad range of health organisations working together to raise public awareness. I was at the launch of Love Your Lungs in Boots pharmacy in Cardiff, where Tim Rhys Evans, of Only Men Aloud fame, was teaching us all not to sing but to do exercises to improve our lungs. It is important, because lung disease is a significant health issue in Wales, and a priority for me as Minister and for the Government. It is important that we engage with the voluntary sector. It can help us in raising public awareness and it works closely with communities across Wales, playing a key role in ensuring that these public health campaigns are rolled out in all our communities.

Russell George: I have a real concern about the use of synthetic drugs in Wales, particularly mephedrone or MCAT. Unscrupulous dealers here and abroad are deliberately targeting and exploiting children with this drug, providing them with cheap tasters in order to create long-term market demand. What is the Welsh Government doing in terms of campaign work with stakeholders, the police, local authorities and local health boards to inform children and parents of the immediate dangers and long-term impact of MCAT and other synthetic drugs?

Lesley Griffiths: Obviously, it is something that is of a great deal of concern. I am having discussions with the chief medical officer to see what more we can do to get those messages out. I am currently looking at all health improvement programmes and public health campaigns, and we can look at that in that context.

Vaughan Gething: Would you be able to outline how the Welsh Government measures the effect of public health campaigns? We all know and support a whole range of public health campaigns that are ongoing. We see many of those campaigns in the Health and Social Care Committee, in particular. What progress is being made in persuading more members of the public to take on greater personal responsibility for their own health?

Lesley Griffiths: We evaluate all of our campaigns and we measure them in different ways. I will just focus on Change4Life Wales, which is an adaptation of the Department of Health’s Change4Life campaign, which is based on a substantial body of research and insight. Any burst of campaign activity is evaluated. It has to go through a number of evaluations, to include the number of adults and families that are registered and the public relations coverage that we achieve. Social media activity is important, as are Google analytics reports for how many hits we have had on the Change4Life website. So, we do a huge amount of evaluation. In relation to that campaign, the 11,000 families that signed up during the first two years of the campaign have been revisited and asked to complete a questionnaire, so that we can assess the impact that the campaign messages have had on their behaviour.