Health secretary Matt Hancock has revealed a new preventative vision for the NHS, which includes a call for people to “take more responsibility for their own health”.
Speaking at the Annual Meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes last week, Hancock’s vision looks to shift the focus to primary and community care services – and the “value they can bring in offering early support”.
Liz Allsobrook, our Head Community & Health Improvement, welcomes the news and says:
“We all want to live longer, healthier and more independent lives. Early intervention and prevention is about forward planning for the future, making positive health and wellbeing choices to reduce preventable health conditions.
"In 2017/18, the Wave Community & Health Improvement Team worked with 1,457 people, across 55 different programmes of activity, resulting in 10,569 attendances in preventative and health intervention activities. These included supporting classes focused on falls prevention reducing later life hospital admissions and working with older people in rural locations who are unable to access supported classes. The team also helped families to bring physical activity into their homes and teachers to support physical activity as part of active learning.
"There is a need for support to enable people to make informed choices about their own health, with physical activity being an important part of that journey, not only enabling us to live longer, but to live better".
We pride ourselves on our vision to be at the heart of the improvement of health and wellbeing in our communities. Earlier this year, we were recognised in this year’s Parliamentary Review for our commitment to creating opportunities for people of all ages and ability levels to lead more active lifestyles.
We work across a range of sectors including sport and activity, education, public health, and adult social care and have more than one million active customer visits on an annual basis. More recently, significant time has been invested in expanding the range of activities from our Community & Health Improvement Team. GP exercise referral, dementia services and fall prevention are some of the ways in which we're supporting members of the local community to live healthier lives.
Focussed on inspiring active lifestyles, our 2017/18 Impact Report shows significant increases in many areas:
22% increase in senior memberships
26% increase in attendances at strength and balance classes
37% increase in participation in walking football
More than 800 attendances to Postural Stability Instruction – exercises for those at risk of falling
Hancock notes that in the future “we need to see a greater investment in prevention – to support people to live longer, healthier and more independent lives, and help to guarantee our health and social care services for the long-term”.
Meeting that need will be a ground-breaking health hub built in Seaford towards the end of 2019. It will bring general practice and primary healthcare services to an environment where anyone, no matter their age or ability, can enjoy being active. It will ensure that GPs and healthcare teams can work hand-in-hand with support staff, supporting physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through effective treatment including participation in appropriate activity.