GIS and Public Health – Mapping Public Health Service Provision

By Andrew Fitzpatrick, Geographic Research and Information Officer, Kirklees Council

From April 2013, Local Authorities gained responsibility for commissioning key public health services through primary care providers (GPs and pharmacies).  Such services include smoking cessation, alcohol identification and brief advice (IBA), and sexual health, e.g. long acting reversible and emergency hormone contraceptives.

Kirklees Public Health Intelligence and the Geographic Research Information Teams within Kirklees Council have worked together to carry out spatial analysis of the distribution of the aforementioned public health contracts across Kirklees.  Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a variety of public health data we have produced Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)-level reports and maps showing locations of service providers against background indicators of population need.

The advantage of using GIS for this analysis is its ability to assemble disparate data sets where the only common theme needs to be location. Our analysis used data which included; survey responses, alcohol and smoking related hospital admissions, termination rates, sexually transmitted disease rates, service provider records and GP registered population.  (A full list of the data sources is shown below).

The benefits of using GIS with public health data go beyond visualization of spatial trends on a map. It can also be used to generate further insight, such as producing road network routed time/distance calculations from the resident population to the nearest service providers.

The map below shows an example of some of the data used in our analysis:

MAP: Smoking Cessation Providers in Greater Huddersfield CCG with Regular Smokers (CLiK survey results)

It shows the distribution of smoking cessation providers/non-providers (GPs and Pharmacies) and the spatial variation in the percentage of ‘regular smokers’ (>1 cigarette per day), taken from the Current Living in Kirklees (CLiK) 2012 survey. Our analysis also included smoking-related hospital admission data, although this is not shown.

Our reports provide a concise snapshot of the current distribution and activity of public health service providers and highlights areas of greatest need. The reports and maps will be reviewed by the Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs, providing them with location intelligence and data-driven insight, helping them make decisions about commissioning future public health services.

Data Sources:

  • Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support Unit (hospital admissions)
  • Current Living in Kirklees (CLiK) 2012 survey (alcohol and smoking use/frequency)
  • West Yorkshire Central Services Agency (GP registered population)
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Kirklees Public Health
  • Genitourinary medicine clinic activity dataset (GUMCAD)
  • Marie Stopes, Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) and British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)
  • Local Authority Sexual Health Epidemiology Report (LASER)
  • Ordnance Survey (OS open data and data covered by the Public Sector Mapping Agreement)

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