Continuing to work on addressing health inequalities
Hastings Borough Council's Cabinet meeting on Monday 1 August will hear an update on the council's work with partners to address the health inequalities that are faced across Hastings.
The report updates on the work that has been done since the council passed a motion in February 2021 committing to narrow health inequalities in the town.
It includes details of the Universal Healthcare Programme (UHP), a £2.4m programme which will bring together senior NHS leaders, community leaders and academics from London South Bank University to oversee pilots in Hastings and Bradford, in West Yorkshire.
The programme will focus on the most disadvantaged and seldom heard communities and work with them to improve their outcomes and experiences. The issues experienced by both towns will be raised at a national level and will feed into national thinking and policy on addressing health inequalities. The programme also aims to build shared communities of practice for cross-programme learning and to test and embed a new way of designing and delivering NHS services that improve population health and reduce health inequalities.
A local team will be bringing together a group of diverse stakeholders, and generating a system committed to acting together. This will include representatives from NHS Sussex, Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex Public Health, Hastings Primary Care Network, Hastings Voluntary Action and Diversity Resource International.
The report also details how the Healthy Hastings and Rother Programme has allocated funding over the last eight years. There have been 46 projects and a total investment of £11.4m. Many of these projects are now delivered as part of the main healthcare provision.
In addition, £3.4m has been reallocated to Hastings to be spent to reduce health inequalities. Around £1m of this has been invested during 2021/22 in schemes including children and young people's mental health support; parental advice and support; activity and exercise through Active Hastings; autism training for health and care staff; support for street drinkers; work to reduce use of dependence-forming medications.
Going forwards, there will be a seminar in September, organised by the Hastings Health Equity, Wellbeing and Prosperity Group, a group established by the Hastings and St Leonards Local Strategic Partnership (LSP). This will develop the work on health inequalities, and it is hoped that Sir Chris Witty, the Chief Medical Officer, will attend to give the keynote speech. Hastings was used as a case study in Sir Chris' report into health inequalities in coastal locations in 2021.
Cllr Andy Batsford, portfolio holder for health and culture, said: "The UHP is an amazing opportunity for us to be part of a programme that we hope will lead to significant changes in the way services are provided, and will put tackling health inequalities at the centre of how they are designed and delivered.
"We are also excited about the September seminar which will give us a chance to showcase the work we have done and engage with others to continue our partnership working. We know there is lots of work still to be done to address the huge health inequalities in our town, but this report shows that we are making progress and we are committed to narrowing the gap between those who have and those who do not. By improving health we will enable our residents to lead more fulfilled, happy lives which is what we want for all those who live in Hastings."
The meeting will be live streamed from 6pm on Monday 1 August. More information is available in the Cabinet papers.
Notes for Editors:
Hastings is the most deprived lower tier local authority in Sussex and one of the most deprived in the country. Deprivation contributed to higher rates of long-term illness, disabilities, cancer, lung disease and heart problems compared to the rest of England.
Men in the most deprived areas of Hastings are expected to live 11.5 years less than those in other areas of the town - the biggest gap in the south east of England.
Life expectancy for both men and women is lower than the England average.