A new report published today takes the temperature of local people’s health. It shows that whilst Bristol is faring well in comparison to many other major cities, some health issues and inequalities remain entrenched.
Published by Bristol City Council and NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (Bristol CCG), the purpose of the report is to identify the current and future needs of local people – enabling the council and health partners to plan accordingly.
"This report gives us an idea of where our biggest challenges lie and the people behind this data must be at the heart of any decisions we make on the back of this. We know that for long term gains we must be focusing on prevention and early intervention, but we must also meet the demands of the moment and balance the current requirements of an ageing population."
- Dr Martin Jones, clinical chair of Bristol CCG and co-chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board
The report, which looks at the data behind people’s health and wellbeing in Bristol, shows that the city’s population has grown by over 10% in the past decade. Overall life expectancy has increased although people are still living for many years in poor health – on average for women that’s 19 years and for men it’s 15 years. There are also clear differences between the city’s richest and poorest areas.
The impact of poverty, crime and education are all mentioned as factors affecting local people’s health. The report also highlights how many of the health issues people face are preventable and how changes to diet, physical activity and tobacco and alcohol use can make a significant difference. Cancer and cardiovascular disease remain the biggest factors in early death whilst mental health, diabetes and conditions affecting joints, muscles and bones contribute to long term poor health.
There are some success stories in the data; Bristol has the highest healthy life expectancy of all major cities in England and the number of people smoking continues to decline. Bristol also continues to do well in supporting new mothers to breastfeed, whilst teen pregnancies have reduced by half in the past decade.
"We recognise that we have some major health inequalities to tackle in Bristol and we are determined to close this gap. A healthy population is vital in building a strong, inclusive economy, not to mention making sure people get the most out of life. As shown in the report we all need to take charge of the wider factors that affect our health and this is not something the council or NHS can do alone. In this climate of reducing budgets and increasing demands, the city has to work together and we will be calling on our partners in the business, voluntary and public sectors to play their part where they can."
- Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol and co-chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board