Working together to be healthy and stay well

In South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, people are living longer, but we have high levels of deprivation, unhealthy lifestyles and too many people dying prematurely from preventable diseases and there are significant inequalities across the region. In areas where deprivation is high, access to services is variable and outcomes can be worse than other areas.

Poor eating habits can lead to weight gain, which in turn can result in serious complications like type 2 diabetes. Smoking and alcohol consumption, which are particular issues in our region, are obviously harmful and increase the risk of cancer. We also know that there are higher than average deaths in people under the age of 75 from cancer, heart disease and serious mental illness.

Our levels of childhood poverty are significantly higher than the national average and the gap is widening. We also have significant deprivation and inequalities, with a difference in healthy life expectancy of more than 20 years across our area – and we have higher than the national average of teenage conceptions and mums smoking during pregnancy. We also know that people who have mental health issues have less chance of living well and for longer.

Many of these can be prevented by different lifestyle choices and keeping a check on our health and caring for our mental and physical health.

Our health and care services want to support people more to do this – by making it easier to get expert advice and to access free healthy living schemes. We also want to support people to connect with and develop local links and networks in their neighbourhoods, building trust and understanding across communities. And we know that starting well and living well helps people have a better education and are more likely to find employment and stay employed. The simple fact is that a healthier population is a happier population – one which relies less on the NHS and other care services to treat problems that could have been prevented.