Cheshire East Place - Five Year Plan Cover Image (1)

A draft five-year plan to improve the health and wellbeing of South Cheshire communities has received support from local people.

The plan was put for a public engagement exercise run by Healthwatch Cheshire East.

Steven Michael, chair of Cheshire East Partnership, pledged that people’s recommendations to strengthen its proposed five-year plan would be reflected in a revised version.

He said: “I really appreciate the time and energy that local people gave to their feedback.

“I heard some great suggestions at the event I attended and from reading the engagement report by Healthwatch.

“There is a lot for us to take away and further consider.

“For example, there was great emphasis on the importance of promoting services that are already available, as well as finding new ways for health and social care services to work more effectively together.

“The plan is vitally important because we can’t carry on as we are.

“Our growing and ageing population means more people need health and care support.

“At the same time, we recognise that people’s health and wellbeing is not simply about taking a pill, seeing a doctor or waiting for a service.

“It involves helping people to be more proactive in their own health and wellbeing.

“This means we need to be using information more effectively to identify vulnerable people who may be at risk and addressing the wider determinants of health such as housing, poverty, employment and education.”

The engagement exercise showed many people believed the plan identified most of the key issues facing the area’s health and care services.

But they felt it needed more emphasis on preventing ill health, intervening quickly when necessary and making services more accessible.

Early intervention and prevention were seen as important, including focusing on self-care, smoking, obesity and more mental health support.

It was felt the importance of exercise was missing, including access to gyms and community fitness programmes.

Feedback indicated the importance of exercise could be strengthened while some respondents felt it lacked focus on accessibility, particularly being able to access GP appointments quickly, and being offered appointments that were local rather than having to travel long distances.

The engagement activity comprised 21 face-to-face listening events in community locations, a workshop attended by 15 Healthwatch volunteers and an online survey that attracted 272 responses.

The plan aims include:
• Tackling health inequalities, the wider causes of ill health and the need for social care support through a joined-up approach to reducing poverty, isolation, housing problems and debt
• Preventing ill health while focusing on early intervention, health improvement and creating environments that support and enable people to live healthily
• Ensuring actions are centred on people, their goals and the communities in which they live, and supporting people to help themselves
• Having shared planning and decision making with residents.

And its intended outcomes include:
• A place that supports health and wellbeing for everyone living in Cheshire East
• Improved mental health and wellbeing for people living and working in Cheshire East
• More people living well for longer
• Children and younger people being happy and experiencing good physical and mental health and wellbeing.

A revised plan will be sent to Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership for approval in November.

Mark Palethorpe, Cheshire East Council acting executive director for people, added: “We’ll now refine our plans to accelerate the joining up of health and social care so that people are supported closer to home, helping them to stay well and get better quickly when they fall ill.

“The plan will be taken through the decision-making bodies of all partners during October before being sent to Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership.”

Partners in the plan are Cheshire East Council, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, East Cheshire NHS Trust, Healthwatch Cheshire East, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS South Cheshire CCG, South Cheshire and Vale Royal GP Alliance, and Vernova Healthcare – a community interest company representing the 19 GP practices of Eastern Cheshire.

Click here to read Healthwatch’s report on the public engagement.

Click here to read the Five Year Plan.

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