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Local people to benefit from better joined-up NHS and social care services, following the launch of a two-year plan to meet the health and care needs of people living in the borough.

The Richmond Health and Care Plan, which has been developed with local people, aims to give everyone the best start in life, help people to live healthier lives and be better connected to their local community.

This new partnership plan will help patients get better care and support and help them to avoid having to re-tell their story every time they encounter a new health or social care service. It will also ensure that different parts of the system share appropriate information to help improve the care local people receive.

Today, people in the borough of Richmond are living longer and nearly one in ten people has three or more long-term health conditions. One in four people will experience a mental health condition during their lives, often alongside other physical health problems. This can reduce quality of life and increase the chance of needing health and social care services.

Cllr Piers Allen, Chair of the Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Committee and Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“The health and care system in Richmond needs real change which puts prevention at its heart.

“This plan is an example of the Council working in partnership with the community, NHS, Healthwatch and the voluntary sector to produce a strategy that has a pure focus on keeping people healthy, independent and in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. Where people do need hospital treatment, we want to make sure they can get home as quickly as possible.

“Our plan is as challenging as it is ambitious, but we are all working together and determined to make it happen with the input and support of local people.”

Dr Graham Lewis local GP and Chair of NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“We want people to stay well for longer, be in work for longer and when unwell, to stay in their own homes for longer.

“Prevention, which involves supporting communities to live healthier lifestyles and look after themselves, is at the heart of our Richmond Health and Care Plan across all life stages. People can reduce their risk of cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes by getting regular exercise and not smoking. More than one in three people living in the borough drink more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol a week. Simple changes like having drink free days makes a huge difference to your health.”

There is a high rate of obesity among year 6 school children (aged 10 to 11), with more than one in ten children (11%) locally being diagnosed as being overweight. Bodyweight and worries about appearance is a concern for children and young people and could lead to low self-esteem and prevent them from engaging in healthy behaviours.

Ian Dodds, Managing Director for Achieving for Children, is supporting the roll-out of the Daily Mile, a national initiative to get more children out of the classroom walking or jogging for 15 minutes a day, across primary schools in the borough. He said:

“The Daily Mile has huge benefits; it helps children become fitter, maintain a healthy weight and increases their concentration levels.”

Lowther Primary School in Barnes has been running the Daily Mile initiative at its school and children enjoy taking part and are more productive. Mark Tuffney, the Headteacher, added: “Children in every year at our school take part in the Daily Mile. They do it at their own pace and some even like to keep times.

“At a point in the day the teacher can bring the children out in the playground to exercise for 15 minutes. I’m pleased to hear this brilliant initiative is being rolled out across primary schools in the borough. It’s such an easy thing to do. It doesn’t require any extra resource and children can really benefit health-wise from a simple idea.”

Mike Derry, Chief Officer at Healthwatch Richmond, said:

“We are passionate about local people being at the heart of the Health and Care Plan for Richmond and would like to thank everyone who shared their views and experiences.

“As part of the engagement on the plan we were delighted to be able to support Youth Out Loud! A group of young people aged 13-17 to provide feedback to the plans for Start Well and our volunteers to provide input to the Live Well and Age Well parts of the plan. We are really pleased to see that the plan has incorporated the views of the community and is stronger for it.”

Research published by the Health Foundation to look at the health care needs of older adults finds that people aged 65 and older who live alone are 50% more likely to go to A&E than those who live with someone else.

In the Local Health and Care Plan for Richmond, one of the key priorities is around supporting people living alone to have better access to activities taking place in their local community, which could help relieve pressure on A&E departments and GP services. This is particularly relevant heading into winter when services are overstretched.

– from a Richmond Council press release - 21 October 2019