Health in Cambridge – B minus – good, but could do better

Cambridge Local Health Partnership July 2012

 All papers available here

  • The health of people in Cambridge is mixed compared with the England average. Deprivation is lower than average, however about 2,800 children live in poverty.
  • Life expectancy for both men and women is similar to the England average.
  • Life expectancy is 8.7 years lower for men and 10.5 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Cambridge than in the least deprived areas.
  • Over the last 10 years, all cause mortality rates have fallen. The early death rate from heart disease and stroke has fallen and is similar to the England average.
  • About 14.2% of Year 6 children are classified as obese, lower than the average for England. Levels of teenage pregnancy, GCSE attainment, breast feeding initiation and smoking in pregnancy are better than the England average.
  • Estimated levels of adult ‘healthy eating’, smoking, physical activity and obesity are better than the England average. Rates of hip fractures and hospital stays for alcohol related harm are worse than the England average. Rates of sexually transmitted infections and smoking related deaths are better than the England average.

So overall City residents are healthier than most in the country, especially if you live in one of the less ‘deprived’ wards. We should however watch out as we seem to end up in hospital more often than most after a few drinks, and seem to be prone to dodgy hips, or at least to accidents that result in hip fractures. The results do throw up a number of questions not least why in such an affluent city are 2,800 children living in poverty and why should your life expectancy be based on your social ‘class’ or postcode. Quite rightly the health and wellbeing strategy flags up this type of health inequality as being a priority. I wonder how many community organisations are working with individuals and communities that suffer these inequalities and how much they help to lessen them, and in the next breath I wonder how sustainable those services are as budgets are cut, services are commissioned and price becomes king.

These are some of the key facts to come out of the JSNA (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment) process that relate to the city. These documents provide a wealth of information and data that could be useful to organisations that are looking at developing projects. They highlight where the priorities for the districts and the county lie and give masses of information on issues and more importantly need.

The meeting heard a summary of what had come out of the different JSNAs so far as well as what would be looked at in the future. Check out the 2013 summary here.

Here at CCVS we will look at how we can ensure that the sector gets a greater input into future JSNA research, we will let you know more when we discover more.

I can’t find the list of reports to be developed for the next year on the website but here is the list based on my scribbled notes (so not definitive) and an out of date roadmap provided.

  • Pharmaceutical needs assessment
  • Carers (including young carers)
  • Long term conditions across the life course
  • Older people – primary prevention
  • Older people – mental health
  • Transport networks

As well as the information available in the meeting papers (posted on the Council website, which I think is great practice and should be the norm for all districts), there is loads of information on the JSNA website and on the Cambridgeshire atlas website and the Cambridgeshire insight website. If you do want some help wading through all this data do drop us a line at CCVS and we will help you to find what you are looking for (assuming you are a CCVS member).

One other thing of note from the meeting was the update on the health and wellbeing board. The terms of reference for this have recently changed following changes to its constitution by the full county council. (More info here) There will now be 5 county councillor members and one representative from each district. There is still no VCS rep (the only eastern region HWB that does not have one) but we will continue to lobby for this. There is ‘space’ for up to 3 non-voting co-opted members and a VCS representative here would be a start.


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