An important theme which has emerged from the engagement work is the need for the JSNA to be clear on a small number of priorities for the district. The following have emerged as priorities from the data and engagement work:
PreventionIt is striking how much ill health in the district is potentially preventable. Smoking prevalence is particularly high and is the major behavioural cause of inequalities. Despite recent improvements, more than 1 in 5 women continue to smoke during pregnancy. This is one of the highest rates nationally. Other lifestyle choices such as alcohol, diet and physical activity also contribute significantly to poor health outcomes.
Early InterventionThe evidence for intervening early in a child’s life so they enter school with good social, emotional and physical health is compelling. Early intervention to promote social and emotional development can significantly improve mental and physical health, educational attainment and employment opportunities. Early intervention can also help to prevent criminal behaviour (especially violent behaviour), drug and alcohol misuse and teenage pregnancy.
Long Term ConditionsThe ageing population combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices is leading to increasing prevalence of long term conditions. For example, the total Wakefield population aged 65 and over predicted to have doctor-diagnosed diabetes is set to rise by over 50% by 2030.
Older PeopleThere will be a major shift in the population structure over the next 5 to 10 years as the proportion of the population aged over 65 increases. By 2031, the number of older people is expected to have grown by over 50%. Whilst this can be seen as an asset for communities, some older people will become vulnerable to poor health and social outcomes. Services are already experiencing the pressures of these demographic changes.
InequalitiesWhilst there is some evidence Wakefield is closing the gap on the national average for a range of indicators, there are also signs that the gap within the district is widening. Comparing the most disadvantaged 10% of areas with the 10% most affluent areas, life expectancy is 9.9 years lower for men and 7.2 years lower for women. Life expectancy for women in the 10% most disadvantaged areas appears to be declining. The diseases causing this gap are coronary heart disease, lung disease (especially chronic bronchitis/emphysema) and cancers (especially lung cancer).
Mental HealthThere is a clear association between good mental health and improved health outcomes for people of all ages and social classes. Demographic changes are leading to an increased prevalence of dementia. Demand for mental health services is likely to increase as a result of unemployment,personal debt, home repossession and other consequences of the recession. Poor mental wellbeing will undermine an individual’s self-belief and their ability to engage with services.