A New Vision for a Healthier Reading

Cllr Graeme Hoskin
Cllr Hoskin

THE COUNCIL and its local NHS Partners have this week published the final version of a joint three year plan on prioritising health and wellbeing in the borough.

A report went before Full Council on Tuesday 24th January and will go before Reading’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Friday 27th January, presenting the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Reading for 2017-2020 alongside a supporting action plan.
This is the second Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Reading. It builds on the first which ran from 2013-16 and takes into account national and local developments over the past three years. It is the culmination of an extensive period of stakeholder engagement with local partners, voluntary and community sectors and public consultation.

The strategy sets out the areas the Council and its partners will focus on from 2017 to 2020 to improve and protect Reading’s health and wellbeing, including plans to meet Care Act obligations to prevent, reduce and delay care and support needs.

The strategy sets out eight key priorities:

  • Supporting people to make healthy lifestyle choices (improving dental care, reducing obesity, increasing physical activity and reducing smoking);
  • Reducing loneliness and social isolation;
  • Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in children and young people;
  • Reducing deaths by suicide;
  • Reducing the amount of alcohol people drink to safe levels;
  • Making Reading a place where people can live well with dementia;
  • Increasing uptake of breast and bowel screening and prevention services;
  • Reducing the number of people with tuberculosis.

These key priorities are underpinned by three fundamental themes: safeguarding vulnerable adults and children; recognising and supporting all carers; and co-ordinating information resources to support health and wellbeing.

A number of different strands have informed the new strategy, including priorities identified from the Council’s refreshed Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and taking on board public and stakeholder feedback. Consultation feedback, for example, suggested a stronger emphasis on adult mental health and the final strategy has been adjusted to reflect that.

The action plan has a focus on targeted actions to reach different communities where this is expected to reduce health inequalities.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health and Reading Health & Wellbeing Board Chair, said:

“We achieved a number of goals in our first Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan, and have made good progress towards improving health, reducing inequalities and achieving early intervention. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done and we face many challenges in the future.

“In the face of unprecedented Government budget cuts, the Council is committed to ensuring locally we all work together so people receive the best possible healthcare support. We have to make some tough decisions about where limited resources will have the most impact. The new strategy will enable us to target our dwindling resources where they will make the most difference.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for the hard work that has gone into producing this strategy and action plan.”

Dr Andy Ciercierski, Vice-Chair, Reading Health & Wellbeing Board, Chair, North & West Reading CCG, said:

“The CCGs are committed to making sure that NHS funds are used as effectively as possible and have the most impact on local people’s health needs. To this end, we’ve worked with other members of the Health and Wellbeing Board to develop the new Health and Wellbeing Strategy and we’re working with health providers and our partners to get the best value for the ‘Berkshire West Pound’.

“The new strategy and the refreshed joint strategic needs assessment are both valued by the CCGs, as part of the evidence that we use to base our decisions on when commissioning NHS services. The CCGs welcome the Health and Wellbeing Strategy’s emphasis on people taking responsibility for their own health and in making progress in better use of technology, particularly where this can help to monitor the health of those managing a long-term condition.”

The full report can be viewed here: www.reading.gov.uk/media/6650/item9-HWBStrategy-Report/pdf/item9-HWBStrategy-Report.pdf