The health of people in Greater Manchester is improving, thanks to an ambitious and wide-ranging programme led by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

Progress is being made in preventing disease and the causes of ill health, but a warning has also been issued that there is much more to do to bridge the gap between Greater Manchester and other parts of England.

An update report on Greater Manchester’s Population Health Plan 2017-21 is to be considered on Friday, 26 July, by the city region’s health and social care board.

It comes as the Government today published a consultation document on prevention of ill health called: “Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s”.

The Government document includes case studies of Greater Manchester’s approach, including a scheme to encourage social housing tenants to give up smoking in Salford and the Wigan Deal, which has seen healthy life expectancy in Wigan increase by approximately 17 months for women and 12 months for men.

The Greater Manchester Population Health Plan update report shows:

  • 200 more children started school with a “good” level of development in 2018, compared to 2017 – a key indicator of future health prospects
  • An additional 250 babies were born to non-smoking mothers
  • 31,400 children in 722 primary schools and nurseries are benefitting from supervised toothbrushing, helping to avoid tooth decay
  • 46,500 fewer people smoke compared to two years ago and the rate of smoking is falling twice as fast as the national average
  • 67,000 more people were physically active in 2018 than in 2016 and inactivity rates have fallen by 1.7%, compared to 0.5% nationally
  • Around 7,000 residents have joined a new network of cancer champions, using their experience and knowledge to highlight the importance of cancer prevention and screening in areas where engagement has been lowest
  • Care teams have brought positive changes to more than 1,800 households in areas of severe deprivation, supporting residents with complex lives to get the help they need
  • More than 3,800 people aged over 65 have been assessed for malnutrition and dehydration and over 90% of people found to be at risk of ill health from these conditions have gained or stabilised their weight.

The progress report on Greater Manchester’s Population Health Plan provided an update on the £30m NHS-funded programme radically to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of the city region’s 2.8 million residents. This investment has been added to with further investment from partner organisations.

The report outlines action being taken and successes achieved through 24 different programmes focused on addressing some of the city-region’s most serious and long-established health challenges. It includes work to:

  • Help young children get the best start in life
  • Ensure babies are not exposed to alcohol in the womb
  • Help people to stop smoking
  • Increase physical activity
  • Help people who are off sick back into work
  • Detecting cancer at an early stage
  • Improve take-up of health checks to spot and prevent cardio vascular disease

It also sets out how the NHS in Greater Manchester is now building on these achievements through further collaborations with a wide range of local, regional and national partners to address some of the key issues which impact on people’s health. This includes action on the environment, education, housing, work and transport. The report states an ambition to put health at the centre of every policy and strategy across the city-region’s public services.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s recently-published prospectus for 2019-24 also highlighted the importance of all the city region’s public services working together, from transport to police and from housing to education, with the goal of improving health.

Sarah Price, Director of Population Health for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “For too long, too many people in Greater Manchester have faced serious poor health and deep-rooted inequalities.

“Since taking charge of our health and social care in 2017, we’ve worked hard with a wide range of partners and our residents to reverse this situation.

“We are starting to see evidence that the tide is turning but we are under no illusions that significant work remains.”

Dr Carolyn Wilkins OBE, Greater Manchester Population Health Programme Board Chair, who is also Oldham Council’s Chief Executive and Clinical Commissioning Group Accountable Officer, said: Health in Greater Manchester should and could be better, and there are unacceptable and unwarranted inequalities.

“We are working across council, NHS and other public services to change this. We’re collaborating with local people and other partners committed to this common goal.

“But success will truly come by looking even broader and tackling the root causes of ill-health.

“So we’re focused on taking the opportunities of devolution to create joined-up, whole-system ways of working and put health at the heart of plans across our local areas and our city-region as a whole.”

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