Thousands of people across Greater Manchester have taken part in a health snapshot survey to help shape health and social care plans for the next five years – although more residents in Bury, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton are being urged to get involved.

The Taking Charge campaign is asking the region’s 2.8 million residents and 100,000 public sector employees to share their struggles and successes in making healthy lifestyle choices, as the region prepares to take responsibility for a £6billion health and social care budget.

So far, nearly 10,000 people have visited the campaign website while a further 1,500 people have also taken part in an online workshop to discuss in greater detail some of the key objectives and ambitions of health and social care devolution.

The survey results are already providing an invaluable snapshot of people’s perceptions of health, with 91% of respondents identifying some feature of their health and wellbeing that they would like to improve.

Over 40% of respondents across Greater Manchester consider themselves to be healthy or very healthy, but the majority still wanted to be more physically active (60%) while nearly half (46%) wanted to be able to eat more healthily too. Similarly, 40% of people want to get more sleep and have less stress in their lives.

So far, the top four locations taking part are residents from the City of Manchester, Stockport, Salford and Tameside with 53% of responses coming from these areas. Many of these are after visiting the Key103 bus, which is on tour until the middle of March, with the final public event planned for Wednesday 9 March in Rochdale.

So far, people in Rochdale (inc Heywood and Middleton), Bury and Glossop make up the lowest number of participants, with 9% of all responses coming from these three areas. Residents there are now being urged to get involved and join in the conversation online to discuss everything from exercise to mental health.

Wendy Meredith, Greater Manchester’s first ever Director of Population Health Transformation is  keen for everyone to get involved, so that as many people as possible across all the 10 boroughs have had a chance to have their say.

She said: “We have been delighted with the number of people that have already had their say. Taking Charge has reached thousands of people and we receiving new and interesting ideas for improving health and wellbeing on a daily basis.

“However, the ideas and comments from this snapshot survey will impact all of Greater Manchester 2.8 million residents so it is imperative that we get opinions from all 10 boroughs.

“We want to get a picture of how people are feeling, what stops them being healthy and what ideas they have to make changes – every bit of information we can gather now will help us finalise our five year plans for health and social care. “

The feedback will be used to help Health and Social Care bosses tackle some of the worst health outcomes in the country, by:

  • revealing insight into what the people of Greater Manchester believe blocks or enables healthy choices
  • helping health and care officials to design services that can deliver the greatest and fastest improvement in the region’s health and wellbeing
  • identifying great work in the region that can be celebrated and developed at scale across the region

The campaign continues until 31 March 2016 online with all participants entered into a competition to win a set of family bikes, while the Key 103 community roadshow events are taking place throughout all 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester.

The final community roadshow takes place in Rochdale on Wednesday 9 March, although further events will be taking place in some specifically selected schools and colleges over the next couple of weeks as we look to get a snapshot young people’s ideas for what actions can help them to lead healthier lives.

In addition, the Voluntary and Community Sector and Health Watch engagement events are underway with 100 focus groups taking place across Greater Manchester. A further five GM-wide themed events have been scheduled in partnership with key groups to encourage contributions from BME, refugee, disabled people, young people and LGBT representatives.

The survey questions and supporting information have also been produced in eight different languages – including braille and easy read – to support this engagement activity. They are available to download here.