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Wakefield district’s annual health report shows worrying signs

An annual report by the director of public health has been released, highlighting several areas, including smoking, obesity and sexual health, where the district does not compare well nationally. The report by Dr Andrew Furber is being released with the screening of short films by young people from the district.
Dr Furber.
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An annual report by the director of public health has been released, highlighting several areas, including smoking, obesity and sexual health, where the district does not compare well nationally. The report by Dr Andrew Furber is being released with the screening of short films by young people from the district. Dr Furber. w0473b950

A report into the state of the district’s health warns of a high prevalence of chronic conditions and reduced funding to tackle the problem.

The district’s Public Health Annual Report shows that one in three people in the district are living with a chronic health condition.

Rates of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and the respiratory condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are all higher than the national average.

And an increase in the proportion of the population who are elderly is set to make tacking the conditions increasingly costly.

The number of Wakefield district residents aged 65 and over is forecast to rise from 55,000 in 2011 to almost 70,000 in 2031.

The report by director of public health Dr Andrew Furber said: “Within the next five years, one in 20 of us, mainly older people, will have three or more of these long term conditions all at once.”

Dr Furber said dementia was a particular concern, and a better understanding of that condition was needed.

Around 4,000 Wakefield residents have dementia - and the number is expected to increase by 25 per cent over the next 10 years.

It is Dr Furber’s first pubic health report since responsibility for public health was given to councils under NHS reforms by the government.

Fears have been raised that huge budget cuts for local authorities could hamper their work to improve the health of their residents.

Dr Furber said in the report: “It is already clear that this presents a great opportunity to support the work that Wakefield Council is doing to tackle the causes of poor health.

“But local government, especially with its greatly reduced budget, cannot do everything. Responding to this challenge will require everyone to play their part.”

 

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