Public Health Strategic Plan

Public Health Strategic Plan

Printable version (with images)

VisionPublic Health Strategic Plan coverpage

To see a profound and sustainable improvement in the health of Tasmanians.


To help protect and improve the health and wellbeing of all Tasmanians.

What we do

We work with government and communities to protect and promote good health, and prevent disease and injury.

Our work includes:

Health protection Health promotion Disease and injury prevention Population health assessment Evaluation and surveillance Emergency preparedness Promoting public health research

Our principles

We prioritise whole-of-population health We aim for all Tasmanians to have the same opportunity for good health We strengthen systems that promote health and wellbeing We base our work on evidence We work with others to achieve shared priorities

Managing our strategic risks

Ensuring a skilled and adaptable workforce Prioritising long-term health improvement and protection goals Ensuring quality and availability of health information Engaging our key stakeholders Maintain the currency of legislation

Our priorities for 2018 – 2021

  1. Protecting health
  2. Building and sharing evidence
  3. Improving health and wellbeing and reducing the effect of chronic conditions
  4. Encouraging healthy liveable communities

Protecting Health

We protect the population from infection, environmental hazards, drugs and poisons, and other public health threats through surveillance and monitoring, practical responses, operational support and advice, education, training and research.

We ensure access to safe food and water, and protection from microbial and environmental hazards, which are fundamental to human health and wellbeing.

Our aims

We will:

  • Ensure the safety and quality of food, water and the general environment.
  • Prevent the transmission of communicable diseases.
  • Manage disease outbreaks and the other incidents that threaten public health.
  • Prevent harm from drugs and poisons.
  • Improve the safety of the physical environment in which people live.

Our actions

  1. Deliver an effective immunisation strategy that has high coverage.
  2. Develop the principles to underpin the review of the Public Health Act 1997.
  3. Work with local government to increase capacity and capability for environmental and community health protection.
  4. Control appropriate use of low benefit, high risk drugs.
  5. Work with other government regulators to ensure human health outcomes are prioritised in their work.
  6. Develop and implement national and state frameworks, policies and plans to reduce the personal and social impact of blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections.

Selected measures

  • Prescription opioid death rates.
  • Childhood immunisation rates.
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) immunisation rates.
  • Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia rates.
  • Case studies illustrating public health and community benefit from administering public health legislation.

Building and sharing evidence

We will collect and analyse health and social data and share this widely to improve and protect health.

We will have up-to-date data and evidence to help organisations to better design, target and evaluate their efforts.

Our aims

To make evidence more widely available by publishing information briefings and reports that combine data, evidence and experience.

Our actions

  1. Publish the State of Public Health Report and supporting data and evidence briefs.
  2. Build capacity for flexible and responsive surveillance systems.
  3. Apply innovative tools and approaches, including systems thinking, to respond to and evaluate public health issues.
  4. Use appropriate communication tools and methods to share data and evidence.
  5. Partner with research institutions to establish excellence in Tasmanian public health research that informs local action.
  6. Improve understanding of inequalities that affect health outcomes and tailor programs to have the greatest effect.

Selected measures

  • Online access to State of Public Health Report.
  • Environmental Health Information System in place and operating.
  • Case studies that show how thinking about the systems that influence health are applied in practice.
  • Percentage of PHS staff who have completed systems thinking online training.
  • Number of publications.
  • Social media and website use data.
  • Case studies showing where new evidence from research has led to improved practice.
  • Number of research studies undertaken in partnership to address local priorities.
  • Number of joint research funding applications.
  • Evidence briefs about health issues routinely include consideration of inequity in the population.

Improving health and wellbeing & reducing the effect of chronic conditions

Preventive health policies and actions reduce the obstacles to good health, prevent the start and progression of disease and promote factors that protect health.

The increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, and their effect on quality of life and overall health, is placing unprecedented pressure on individuals, families, communities and the health system.

Our aims

We focus our efforts on prevention to reduce the prevalence and severity of chronic conditions and contribute to better health, social and economic outcomes.

Our actions

  1. Lead and coordinate the implementation of the Healthy Tasmania plan.
  2. Increase the numbers and quality of health promoting schools, childcare, workplaces and health services.
  3. Develop and implement national and state frameworks, policies and plans with key stakeholders across government and community.
  4. Support health and community services to embed nutrition, physical activity, health literacy and cultural competency into policy and practice.
  5. Work with communities and primary healthcare services to identify and support Tasmanians at risk of poorer health outcomes and health decline to maintain and improve their health.

Selected measures

  • Number of participating and awarded Move Well Eat Well Schools and Early Childhood Education and Care services.
  • Number of participating and accredited school canteens.
  • Number of ‘Spot On’ health literacy awards given.
  • Percentage of DoH and THS staff who have completed cultural competency e-learning package within two years.
  • Number of community aged care workers who have completed the Nutrition for Older People and Malnutrition in Older People online courses.
  • Case studies from four locations involved in anticipatory care research highlighting community gains.
  • Level of community engagement with Healthy Tasmania strategies.
  • Case studies of community innovation for health and wellbeing.

Encouraging healthy liveable communities

Healthy and liveable places are safe, socially cohesive, inclusive and environmentally sustainable. Features include communities linked by public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure to employment, education, shops and services, public open space and social, cultural and recreational opportunities, and access to local, seasonal healthy food.

Environmental, social and other factors affect our capacity to have optimal health. Improving livability will help Tasmanians improve their health and wellbeing.

Our aims

To cultivate partnerships with all levels of government, universities, community organisations and communities to align our efforts to develop a healthy liveable Tasmania.

Our actions

  1. Develop a whole-of-government shared policy agenda for a healthy liveable Tasmania.
  2. Mobilise community partnerships and action to identify and solve health needs and promote wellbeing.
  3. Strengthen partnerships that embed liveability and ‘active living’ into planning and development.
  4. Develop a strategic response to the health outcomes of climate change.
  5. Collaborate across government, community and private sectors to improve access to local, seasonal, healthy food.

Selected measures

  • Case studies that illustrate the effect of setting a clear shared policy agenda and establishing effective partnerships.
  • Number of days per week Tasmanian adults use active travel.
  • Case studies of local food industry and food service sector engagement in promoting local, seasonal, healthy food.
  • Case studies of improvement in community liveability, eg walkability.

Towards a Healthier Tasmania

Population health indicators

These are some of the population health indicators we have developed to inform our partners in the community and across government about:

  • key aspects of the health of Tasmanians
  • factors affecting health.

Each indicator should be clear, tell us something useful on its own, be based on regularly collected accessible data and align with strategic priorities or emerging issues. The indicators inform the priorities for Public Health Services.

The full suite of indicators are referred to in the State of Public Health Report 2018 and are available as a separate document on our Health Stats webpage

Selected indicators at a glance

Group Indicator
Teenage births in 2016 (Annual rate per 1000 15 -19 year-olds) 16
Adults who are physically active in 2014-15 33%
Adults who eat less than two serves of fruit in 2017-18 54%
Adults who ran out of food and could not afford to buy more in 2016 7%
Adults at risk of long term harm from alcohol in 2014-15 19%
Adults who eat less than five serves of vegetables in 2017-18 89%
Retention of secondary students in education in 2016 71%
Adults who are current smokers in 2014-15 19%
Adults with high or very high levels of psychological distress in 2014 -15 14%
Children fully immunised by five years of age in 2016-17 94%
Low income households in rental stress in 2017 26%
Adults with poor or fair self-assessed health status in 2016 24%