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Suffolk: Civic leaders agree decade long health ‘masterplan’

13:01 04 February 2013

Leader of Suffolk County Council and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, Mark Bee

Leader of Suffolk County Council and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, Mark Bee

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CIVIC leaders have agreed a 10-year masterplan that will attempt to give everyone in Suffolk equal opportunity to improve their way of life.

Suffolk’s health and well being

The current status of health and wellbeing among different groups and communities in the county is laid out in the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Some of the topics covered include:

n The number of over 65s will grow by 56% over next 20 years;

n There is a 12-year difference in life expectancy between Kirkley in Lowestoft and Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds;

n One in six children are living in poverty;

n General affluence masks pockets of deprivation;

n Only 52% of children start school “ready to learn”;

n Although more people are being diagnosed with cancer, early death from the disease fell 34% between 1993 and 2010;

n And Suffolk has 66,109 “family carers” and 3,414 of them are aged five to 24. Their health and wellbeing is “essential”.

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy sets out four main priorities for the first three years of a decade-long initiative to improve the lifestyles of everyone in the county.

Suffolk County Council hopes the strategy will address a number of discouraging statistics demonstrating the problems faced by certain groups and communities which are masked by the county’s general prosperity.

The four central priorities are:

n ensuring every child in Suffolk has the best start in life;

n that older people have a good quality of life;

n that people have a chance to improve their mental health and wellbeing;

n and that people have access to a healthy environment and take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

The strategy needs to be established before April when the Health and Wellbeing board becomes a statutory body.

Concerns include taking care of an increasing older population, the one in six children living in poverty, and the inconsistency between different towns and villages just miles apart but separated by up to 12 years in life expectancy.

One of the strategy’s main proponents is board chairman and county council leader Mark Bee, who said that while the quality of life for people in Suffolk is generally good – with 77% satisfied with their health – the four main areas would provide focus across health, local authorities and other relevant organisations to ensure public money is spent efficiently.

Life expectancy can vary dramatically depending on where you live in Suffolk. People born in Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, can expect to live 12 years longer than those in Kirkley, near Lowestoft, where average life expectancy is just under 76.

In Lowestoft’s Harbour ward, 39% of children live in poverty, compared to 5% in Kesgrave East, near Ipswich.

Meanwhile, Suffolk’s overall educational attainment remains below national rates, with a child’s grades apparently depending on where they go to school. In Whitton, Ipswich, 27% of children achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE compared to 72% in Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds.

A “strategic needs assessment” found there are areas of deprivation in all the districts of Suffolk that can be hidden within more affluent communities.

In his introduction to the strategy, Mr Bee said: “The board recognises the huge role that local people, communities and neighbourhoods play in contributing to improved health and wellbeing within Suffolk.

“We hope that everyone can identify with the priorities within this strategy and are inspired to take local action to contribute to the strategy’s aims.” The strategy states “prevention” is key to success over the next 10 years. Due to early detection and improvements in treatment, early death from cancer fell by 34% between 1993 and 2010, despite more people being diagnosed each year.

Prevention will include taking action in the early years of life, improving access to suitable housing, including addressing fuel poverty, and raising awareness that some problems affecting older people are not an inevitable consequence of old age but can be reduced with lifestyle changes and adaptations to the home.

The Health and Wellbeing Board also wants to utilise community networks to identify solutions to local problems, and build on the inspiration of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy to promote healthy active lifestyles.

n The public are invited to submit their views on the strategy, which is due to be updated in 2015. Write to Tessa Lindfield, director of public health, Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.

5 comments

  • Interesting that two of the worst areas are in Lowestoft...mind you...it's a long way from Ipswich isn't it...how about a trip up the A12 for the County Tories and let them see the problems for themelves, rather than listening to the spin that blames the schools for poor achievement...we have long-term unemployed..not skivers or shirkers, but those who want to be workers...no prospects for work...and all the Tories do is blame Labour...stop dwelling on the past Mr.Bee and get the County and Waveney act together...remember County Council Elections are only 3 months away and the people are losing patience with your administration...to much negativity and too many cuts too quickly!

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Poor educational results in areas of deprivation - really...what a surprise...perhaps Graham Newman will now stop slagging off schools and work with them...doesn't he realise that carrot is much better than stick...or is he into S & M?LOL

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Presumably the glorious solution to all of this is even deeper cuts to social services, more public services handed over to the private sector as a vehicle for profit, and the general dismantling of the welfare state as a safety net for the most disadvantaged. If the last two and a half years have taught us anything, it's that you cannot trust the Conservatives with public healthcare.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • People can improve their own quality of life by stop smoking and eating less microwave meals. Get more exercises. The lower classes on benefits always make excuses for obesity but they need to take more responsbility for their own personal wellbeing rather than concil chiefs doing it for them

    Report this comment

    the opinion man

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • May I ask if this plan includes extra money for us to buy Private Health Insurance ?, because if the Tories are in much longer we will all need it ! Believe me !!

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Monday, February 4, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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