Council aims to add a year to Sheffield residents' lives

Sheffield Council is launching a new public health strategy.
Sheffield Council is launching a new public health strategy.
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Sheffield Council has launched a plan to boost the life expectancy of city residents by a year.

Cabinet members will agree a new public health strategy for 2017 to 2019 at their meeting on Wednesday.

Run routes in Ecclesall Woods.

Run routes in Ecclesall Woods.

The document's overall vision is to improve people's healthy life expectancy and reduce the difference in that figure across the city. Healthy life expectancy is the number of years lived without illness.

The strategy sets a target of increasing life expectancy by one year over the next decade, focusing on making improvements fastest in those areas where people currently have shorter healthy lives.

Cabinet member for health and social care Cate McDonald said: "This is an ambitious new public health strategy that intends to bring new ideas and fresh approaches to what we do as a council to make our city healthier.

“Health and wellbeing for the city is a civic responsibility and we will not shy away from making the changes we need to make – even though this will involve changing cultures, changing procedures and challenging the status quo.

“This will not be easy and we cannot, as a council, change health inequalities by ourselves. But we want to make real, tangible, changes on the ground that improve the lives of Sheffielders, particularly those in less healthy areas of the city, in the years to come.”

The measure of healthy life expectancy combines how long people live with how many years they live with illness. For example, women in Sheffield can expect to live to the age of 82, but more than 20 of those years are lived with ill health – giving a healthy life expectancy of 59, compared to the England average of 64.

Men in Sheffield, meanwhile, have a healthy life expectancy of 61, compared to the English average of 63.

The council wants to make people healthier for longer and in turn reduce the burden on health and social care services.

Under the new strategy the council will commit to a community-based approach, with a focus on getting people back into work and staying healthy in work.

One suggestion is a principal of 'health in all policies', so policy in areas such as licensing, planning or transport should deliver health gains.

Protection from preventable infection and environmental hazards will be priorities, and healthy lifestyles will also be promoted.

The council plans to come up with detailed strategies around areas such as food, tobacco, alcohol, drugs and physical activity.

Coun McDonald added: “This is not necessarily about new resources, but about doing the very best we can with what we have, in what we all know is a time of great budget pressures.

“The task we face is one of reimagining health in our city, setting out what sort of city we want to see in the future, and making sure that we make the investments and changes we need now to achieve this.”

The draft public health strategy is now available online. The meeting takes place at 2pm on Wednesday.