Health Needs Assessment

The objective of a Health Needs Assessment, (HNA), as a tool, is to identify the priority health need on which to allocate resources on a population. Then meet the needs of a population through improvement of services and support, enabling professionals to follow the government’s health inequality strategy in narrowing the gap between differing social and economic groups and regions, (Cavanagh & Chadwick 2005). By using a HNA approach Primary Care Trusts, professional agencies and the local communities are able to identify their own needs and can therefore develop services for the identified areas.
Need can be interpreted in many different ways, it may be desired as material objects, which can be a requirement but may not considered necessary to sustain life or for survival, Thornbury (2009.)   Maslow (1943), described needs placed in a hierarchy, the higher level of needs only being achieved when the lower levels have been fulfilled. (Maslow’s Hierchy of Needs: Appendix 1)

Bradshaw in 1972 used taxonomy of Normative, (Appendix 2) shows that needs identified by the professional may be different to those identified by the individual, Thornbury (2009.) The role of the professional is to address the unmet need of the individual or community. This can only be achieved by determining how health is experienced and what influences choice, how health and wellbeing are understood by the population, then finding the best way to engage and facilitate the given population, (Thornbury, 2009)

Promoting Health is viewed not only as a National Health Service (NHS) professional’s role but as everyone in societies business, the ‘unhealthy’ policies and practices at local level are challenged by politicians, educators, people in industry, shop keepers, council leisure workers. ‘Healthy’ people are to be empowered within their communities, as they promote healthy outcomes and decisions, (Katz 2000). Sustainable development is important in helping to build healthy public policy...