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Public Health Chief applauds Pennine plans to prevent ill health

Professor Dominic Harrison Director of Public Health, Blackburn with Darwen has applauded plans to prevent avoidable illness in a blueprint for health and care in the area.

The draft Pennine plan is a blueprint to improve the health, care and wellbeing of people living in Pennine Lancashire (which covers Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire), as well as improving health and care services in the area.

Over the last year, the Pennine Lancashire Accountable Health and Care Partnership which represents all health, care and voluntary sector organisations in the area, has been working with residents, volunteers, doctors, nurses, health and care professionals, community workers and others to develop its plans for change.  During the summer, health and care bosses listened to what people have had to say about health and care services, and about how they can be supported to live healthily.  As a result, a draft Pennine Plan has been developed which outlines a number of innovative and exciting proposals designed to improve the health and wellbeing of people who live and work in the area. 

People in Pennine Lancashire are more likely to have poorer health and health outcomes than people living in other parts of the country. With the NHS feeling the pressure from an unprecedented high demand from patients, the blueprint seeks to help people avoid services where they can by helping them to live more healthy and where they have long term ill-health to be supported to manage it better.

Professor Dominic Harrison Director of Public Health, Blackburn with Darwen Council said:

“If we are serious about achieving our vision for all of to us to have healthy and long lives, we must invest significantly in prevention activities which we know work. The good news is that we can prevent many of our illnesses. Preventing avoidable illness, hospital admissions, long-term loss of independence and poorer quality of life, is not just common sense, in the long run it’s the only way to balance the books. We will also ensure we take preventative action across all stages of life and all stages of both wellness and illness, for us all to lead healthier lives. Evidence tells us that if we invest in prevention, we will save money, not just in the health and care system, but across the whole of society including criminal justice, children’s services and wider welfare support systems. We know that local prevention activity pays back around £4 for every £1 invested in it.

What is really exciting about these proposals is that everyone recognises the importance of prevention to avoid illness and there is a detailed plan to do something about it.   For many people it can be difficult to fit healthy living into their busy and sometimes complicated lives. These plans will hopefully make it easier for people to live more healthily in their homes, communities and workplaces and ultimately avoid getting long term health problems in the first place.  I would encourage people to look at the plans and let us know what you think. Hopefully people will be inspired and want to get involved in helping Pennine Lancashire to become a more healthier and happier place”.

The groundbreaking plan to prevent illness includes : support for children and young people to give them the best start in life through support for parents and families, and services and support to help people exercise, stop smoking, eat healthily, and live well.  The plan also includes support for people to self- care and manage their illnesses better, including mental health first aid training and promoting healthy homes, schools and workplaces.  The proposals will build on the successful social prescribing schemes funded by health and run by the voluntary sector in East Lancashire and will encourage every organisation to include health promotion in their plans and policies.

The draft plan is a discussion document and is available at http://togetherahealthierfuture.org.uk/pennine-plan/.  Comments are welcome online at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DraftPenninePlanSurvey

You can also access information about the plan on the Together A Healthier Future Facebook page and comment about our plans there too. https://www.facebook.com/togetherahealthierfuture/.