Health and wellbeing strategy to reduce inequalities within the district

Posted on: Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Newark and Sherwood District Council has set out a four-year plan to help improve the health and wellbeing of local residents focusing on reducing the inequalities of those in particular areas of the district.

The Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2022 – 2026, which is set to be presented to Councillors for adoption at the District Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 6 December, identifies areas of health and wellbeing inequalities for residents living in the district and looks at ways it can direct services to support areas or a particular health focus.

The Strategy supports one of the District Council seven objectives outlined in it’s Community Plan which sets out the District Council’s values, purpose and objectives from 2020 until 2023 and aligns with Nottinghamshire County Council’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

As little as 10% of health and wellbeing is linked to the ability to access health care with the other 90% being as a result of the wider factors that determine someone’s healthy life expectancy. These factors shape the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age and can be different between people or groups due to social, geographical, biological, or economical influences which can both cause advantages or disadvantages and are collectively termed Health Inequalities.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the gap in life expectancy across Newark and Sherwood is 9.1 years for men and 9.4 years for women. This means the people living in the most disadvantaged areas of the district will live on average 9 years less than those in the most affluent areas.

The District Council has created the Health and Wellbeing Strategy with key partners setting out six key priorities to help residents live longer healthier lives. These priorities will be achieved by developing and strengthening partnership working across the district.

The six priority areas are:

- Ensuring the Best Start – giving children the best start in life is a fundamental part of improving health and reducing inequalities

- Improving Healthy lifestyles

- Recognising mental health

- Improving Housing and the Environment

- Addressing the needs of an aging population

- Tackling physical inactivity

Over the next four years the District Council will work with partners, such as Public Health and Community Voluntary Sector to identify universal or targeted services to help reduce the inequalities.

Councillor Tim Wendels, Portfolio holder for Housing and Health for Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The health and wellbeing of our residents is at the heart of everything we do. We’re here to serve our local community in the best way we possibly can and to enable residents to live healthier lives.

“We’ve been doing lots of positive work in our district but there’s always more we could be doing. Our priority is to improve good health, and within this strategy we’ve outlined how we’ll be addressing these health inequalities and the plans we’ll be putting in place to support those who need it most.

“Challenges around the cost-of-living may make it harder for families to access healthy food options and the winter brings colder temperatures meaning more people could suffer from seasonal illnesses - piling more pressure on our NHS.”

Some of the actions outlined in the Strategy include:

  • Promoting and increasing participation in the Breast-Feeding Friendly Award to provide welcoming community spaces to breast feed
  • Raising awareness of the health risks of smoking and second-hand smoke to the unborn, children and adults
  • Pop up events in workplaces and across communities
  • Identifying and removing the barriers to people becoming more active with partners such as Active4Today
  • The adoption of the Mental Health at Work Commitment and promotion to businesses to support employees.

If approved for adoption by Councillors at Cabinet, work will then begin to undertake the action plan.