Posted on Monday 29th November 2021
The number of people smoking in Staffordshire is falling faster than the national rate.
Millions of pounds continue to be invested in improving Staffordshire’s public health following lockdown.
More than £10 million has been spent on lifting affected residents out of fuel poverty, plus investment in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, supporting young people’s mental health and helping people quit smoking – particularly in pregnancy.
Staffordshire County Council details the investment in public health and the level of support available to the community in a new report considered this week by its Health and Care Scrutiny Committee.
Julia Jessel, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Care, said:
Staffordshire is generally a healthy place, with life expectancy similar to the national average.
However, there are health inequalities within the county which have been exacerbated by the Covid lockdown.
It’s vital we work with other services across the county to maintain a strong public health programme to help residents help themselves to live healthier, active lives.”
The report details that in Staffordshire drug-related deaths are rising in line with the national average, as more people who using them suffer deteriorating health as they grow older; alcohol consumption is higher than the national rate; and diagnosis of diabetes is also increasing.
It adds that the number of people smoking is falling faster than the national rate, there are fewer conceptions under the age of 18 and weight-loss programmes have helped more than a thousand residents at risk of getting diabetes lose an average nine pounds.
One of the biggest current public health initiatives coordinated by Staffordshire County Council is the Warmer Homes Fund, which installs central heating and insulation for those suffering fuel poverty.
Julia Jessel said:
Cold homes and fuel poverty are linked to long term illness in adults and children, falls for the elderly and unnecessary deaths in winter.
While there are environmental benefits too, the Warmer Homes Fund is making a huge practical difference to thousands of people in the county and reduces the need for social care or hospitalisation.”
Part of the county’s public health strategy is to help people help themselves by providing support in the community and showing where it can be found.
County Council initiatives such as Do It Staffordshire, provision of 18 local help points and £4.57 million funding for the county’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector are all contributing towards helping people in their own neighbourhoods.
Julia Jessel added:
Improving and maintaining good health is always a joint effort: health and care services can support people in different ways, though people’s own decisions and commitment to make changes are an essential part of the process.”