Healthy lives, living well and prevention

People’s health is shaped by a whole range of factors – from our lifestyle and family backgrounds to the physical, social and economic environment around us. At the same time, NHS services tend to focus on treating people who are unwell.

We all agree that being healthy is about more than just providing health services for people who are unwell.

It’s about taking the ‘wider’ factors into account. In fact, addressing these factors is even more important if we are to achieve a sustainable health and care system.

We know that around 80% of health problems could be prevented and around 60% are caused by the other factors. We will focus on keeping people well and slowing or stopping diseases and recognise that how we plan and provide health and care services must take the wider factors into account.

These are:

Socio economic status - people who earn less or who don’t work tend to have far worse health outcomes, lower life and lower healthy life expectancy than those who earn more. All the places in our plan – Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield - are more deprived than the national average.

Employment – people who have jobs generally have better health. Around 5% of the national population age 16 to 64 is unemployed. In South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, this is around 7%, reaching up to 9% in one of our areas. The proportion of 16 to18 years olds not in education, employment or training is significantly higher than the national average in some of our 'places'.

Housing – poor housing can cause or add to many avoidable diseases and injuries. Cold homes are behind many winter deaths - through exacerbating circulatory conditions and worsening of other conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.

'Non decent' homes – ‘Non decent’ homes are below the legal minimum standard for ‘reasonable’ heat and repair.

Access to green spaces – people who are near, or use, parks, gardens and the countryside generally have better mental health. Being able to exercise or just be in outdoor space in our areas is in line with the national average.

Social relationships / communities – studies show that social relationships, individual or in communities, are important when it comes to getting better or not getting unwell in the first place.

We will develop a South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Healthy Lives programme, delivered locally to improve people’s health and achieve the following:

  • A reduced gap in healthy life expectancy by 5 years from an average of 20 to 15 years
  • 25% less people being admitted to hospital, visiting their GP and needing medication for heart disease and strokes for all 15-64 year olds
  • 15% less people being admitted to hospital, visiting their GP and needing medication for all other conditions
  • More than halve the number of teenage pregnancies (under 18 years old) from 31.9 to 12 per 1,000 women by 2021
  • A reduced number of children and young people between 5 and 15 years old who develop a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder
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