The purpose of this assignment is to complete a health needs assessment within a defined community. It will seek to explore socio-economic factors and health issues. The community is a small town in the North of England with a geographical area approx 9 s

Authors Avatar

Health Needs Assessment


The purpose of this assignment is to complete a health needs assessment within a defined community. It will seek to explore socio-economic factors and health issues to find what conditions are most prevalent within the ward and how they impact on the community. The assessment process will be guided by a framework which will explore all aspects of the community.


Health inequalities have existed in society for at least thirty years that we know of. The first report on health inequalities was the commissioned Black Report by the then Labour government. This was then brushed aside when the conservatives came into power in 1979 (Acheson 1998). Both the Black report (1980) and Acheson’s reports (1998) where commissioned to look at health trends and trends in inequalities faced by the population of the time, and to see how government and social policy could work best to tackle and improve these outcomes.


The Acheson report looks at general health trends, socio-economic position, mortality, morbidity, income, education, employment, housing, homelessness, public safety, transport, health related behaviours and ethnicity (Acheson 1998). All of these issues will be explored as part of the process within this health needs assessment of the ward being discussed to build up a health profile of the community.

What is health?

‘ [Health is] the extent to which an individual or group is able on the one hand, to realise aspirations and satisfy needs and on the other hand to change or cope with the environment.  Health is therefore seen as a resource for everyday life, not the object of living: it is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities…’ (WHO 1984)


National Institute of Clinical excellence (Nice 2005) define a health needs assessment as

‘..a systematic method for reviewing health issues facing a population, leading to agreed priories and resource allocation that will improve health and reduce health inequalities’

The framework used to complete this health needs assessment is based on guidance published by NICE (2005) which details a five step process. Step one defines who the population is, step two identifies health priorities which then builds a profile about the population group to target and benefit, step three looks at identifying conditions impacting on the community and identifies any gap in service provision which would lead to a proposed change ready for steps four and five, the development and implementation of and action plan and then evaluating its effectiveness (NICE 2005). Due to word constraint, only steps one, two and three will be explored.

For purpose of this assessment only information and data within the public domain has been used to maintain confidentiality (Nursing and Midwifery Council NMC 2008).


Evidence based research plays an enormous part in the way nurses practice and carry out tasks. It is ever changing so all research gathered and looked at has to be up to date and accurate. Gray, (2001) suggests that research is a process of enquiry that produces knowledge and can help us to understand and promote health care, through intervention, treatments and therapies. So by undertaking a health needs assessment on the population not only looks at prevalence of disease but can point out a gap in service provision and point out a way of meeting this need.


A health needs assessment rather than a focus needs assessment has been chosen for the purpose of this assignment. The reason for the choice of assessment come from the author being new to the practice area and new to the district with no knowledge of the community’s issues and problems regarding health and social care.

Step one


Social Structure and Social Activity

The community is a small town in the North of England with a geographical area approx 9 square miles. In 1981 the ward was ranked 232 out of 678, by 1991 it had slipped to 176 putting it within the worst 25% of places to live in the north east. It has been difficult to find up to date data on where the ward ranks at present despite searching census and quality and outcomes framework (QOF) data bases.


The last census in 2001 shows the population in the ward at that time to be 11,222 people, with an approximate gender split between male and females (ONS 2001).


The wards community facilities include two nurseries, three primary schools and one senior school (Local Authority 2008), there are many local bakeries, one green grocer and two butchers but the community only has one small supermarket. The nearest large supermarket is roughly six miles away (AA route finder 2008). What is noticeable about the community’s amenities is the large amount of fast food and takeaway businesses.

Since the closure of the mines in the 1980’s there has been no industry within the town and the majority of those working of seeking to find jobs need to travel to the nearest city. When the mines closed many hundreds of people lost their jobs and were unable to find suitable or regular jobs due to poor education and the lack of qualifications to work in business. Unemployment within the community is higher than the nation average with most people having no qualifications to seek out permanent long term employment (ONS 2001).

Join now!


There is one newly built community centre which houses a library, the local housing office, a café, gym and nursery. The Primary Care Trust (PCT) also use the facilities to provide communities services.  Facilities can also be booked for individuals to use.


The ward itself is classifies as being in the most deprived 20% of the country (STPCT2006/07).


The average age of the ward population is 45-54 years of age compared to the local and national average which is 35-44 years of age (ONS 2004).


The population of those aged 0-4 is 6.75% ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay


A good piece of work analysing the health needs of a particular area. Statistics were used to analyse the areas of concern but there was a need to use more recent information to help better inform the assessment. It was not clear why recent statistics were not available. Public health departments of local authorities/councils should be able to provide these. The writer should also explain the difference between the two different types of assessment. There were several spelling & grammatical errors which could be minimised by careful proof-reading. Remember to write out acronyms in full on first citation. 4/5