27 October 2015

Ambitious plans to improve health and wellbeing across the city are part of a raft of measures set to improve public health in Sheffield.

Sheffield is leading the way in many areas of public health compared to other core cites but leaders say there is still a long way to go to close the gap over health inequalities within the city.

Already Sheffield City Council and the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group have launched the city’s Best Start strategy aimed at improving life chances for 0 to five-year-olds.

Now they want to do more to improve people’s health and quality of life. The council last week announced it is investigating the case for a local energy company to help residents in fuel poverty who cannot afford to heat their homes.

The council also wants to work with city partners to maximise opportunities for improved health and wellbeing, as well as taking a measure of wellbeing across the city and using this to track changes over time.

This move is part of an update on the state of health in Sheffield, captured in the Director of Public Health’s annual report, published today (Wednesday, 28 October).

The report states that public health in Sheffield is improving in line with national trends but more is needed to improve the health and wellbeing of the city.

Dr Stephen Horsley, Interim Director of Public Health for Sheffield, said: “Public health in Sheffield is better than it has ever been. We are doing well compared to the other core cities and are improving in line with the national picture. But health in Sheffield remains lower than the England average and inequalities remain a concern.

“We want to change this and now is the time to be aspirational and compare ourselves with the best of the best, and the healthiest places. This is about making sure people can live well and have a good quality of life in Sheffield.”

The report states that health inequalities remain an issue and that more is needed to help people stay healthy in later life.

Dr Horsley added: “People are living longer in Sheffield but the amount of time they spend in poor health in later life is a concern. This is the case right across the country and we want to do something about it.

“We need to do more to help tackle inequality in the city and we need to help people move more and stay active. People can also really help themselves by stopping smoking, drinking less and not eating too much.

“This isn’t about trying to be like Big Brother, but it’s about helping people stay well – so they can have fun and enjoy their lives.”

The other priorities in the report include helping people to exercise more, with a particular focus on children in Sheffield being given opportunities to take part in appropriate exercise.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for public health and equality, said: “We’re working with our partners to improve people’s health and wellbeing and tackle issues which lead people into poverty.

“Living in poverty has a huge impact on how well and healthy people are and we need to be bold in our approach to tackling the issues.

“That’s why we are looking at the options for a local energy company here in Sheffield to help people get cheaper tariffs and help keep their homes warm. As a city, we opened Sheffield Money to help people escape the trap of unscrupulous lenders and we are bold in our approach to tackling poverty.”

Sheffield’s Annual Public Health Report will be discussed at a full Council meeting on Wednesday, 4 November.

The Director of Public Health’s Annual Report is available at https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/caresupport/health/director-of-public-health-report.html