Looking back at my previous blogs it’s fair to say that my I often use it to promote healthier living in Tameside. This week I considered writing about another subject but the importance of the topic I wanted to discuss today was such that I couldn’t waste this opportunity to raise awareness of it.
I’m talking about the Tameside public health annual report which was published in late September. The report identifies the common health problems our residents experience and the best way for us to use our resources to tackle them and improve the quality of life for our residents. The report is unique in the way that it is the first to have been produced since the implementation of the devolution of health and social care services to Greater Manchester and the creation of Tameside and Glossop’s own integrated care organisation.
The report has a particular focus on self-care and is helpful in explaining in detail what that is. Self-care is not just putting a plaster on a cut or taking a paracetamol for a headache, it includes much of what people do on a day to day basis. For example, brushing your teeth, watching what you eat or taking exercise are all considered self-care since they are things that contribute to reducing the risks of developing more serious illnesses further down the line. The report emphasises the importance of taking care of yourself and identifies how easy it is to incorporate self-care activities in to your daily routine.
The benefits to this are twofold. Those who look after their health lead longer, happier lives and by reducing the risk of developing serious illnesses reduce the pressure on the NHS too. Who wouldn’t want to lead a long healthy life and avoid going in to hospital?
Here in Tameside we’re doing all we can to support people to take care of themselves. We’re running a range of initiatives from dementia friends to mental health awareness campaigns. We’re promoting smoking cessation clinics and programmes that help residents reduce their alcohol consumption. And of course, we’re also investing £20m in new and refurbished leisure facilities across the Borough that will make it easier for our residents to get active. Worryingly 33% of Tameside’s population take fewer than 30 minutes of exercise each week, significantly increasing their chances of strokes, heart attacks and type 2 diabetes. By increasing the physical activity rate of Tameside people by just 1% it is estimated that we would reduce the cost of dealing with the consequences of inactivity by £650,000 per year giving us thousands more to spend on other vital public services.
Of course there is always going to be a role for health professionals and medicine, but by choosing the most appropriate way of managing our own health we can ensure that the precious health service and council resources are deployed in the best way towards those with the greatest need.
The public health annual report can be read here.