Sheffield City Region 'must tackle health inequality to succeed'

Sir Andrew Cash
Sir Andrew Cash
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Solving health inequality is key to making the Sheffield City Region a success, according to a new vision for the area.

Education and health leaders last week launched a six-point plan to improve the lives of city region residents - with the condition that the aims could only be achieved if people worked together.

The new vision for Sheffield City Region.

The new vision for Sheffield City Region.

One aspect is health and wellbeing, which according to the plan needs to be more joined up.

Speaking at the launch, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals chief executive Sir Andrew Cash said there were three main problems in the city region.

The first, and biggest, was health inequality.

Sir Andrew said there were differences of up to 12 years in life expectancy between different areas. This is linked to 'long, slow-burning issues' such as access to jobs, education and opportunities.

The second, said Sir Andrew, was inequality of access to health and care services.

"We want to provide top quality care services for local people wherever they are in this region," he said.

And the third problem was a lack of planning of care systems.

Sire Andrew said: "We need to refocus our resources and priorities into people's health and wellbeing.

"We need to start thinking about prescribing exercise as opposed to medicines where it's appropriate to do so."

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The vision sets out a number of targets for the city region.

It proposes a collective health and wellbeing programme with a focus on prevention, treating people as close to home as possible and 'giving everybody a great start in life'.

It targets mental health as 'integral' to future plans, and sets a target to transform the city region into the most physically active area in the UK.

The vision also prioritises equal access to healthcare, bringing services more closely in line to make things easier for patients, and developing neighbourhood hubs and specialist centres.

And it focuses on pioneering the development and use of new technology.

Sir Andrew called the vision 'a fantastic opportunity in our city region'.