Weston in poor health?
PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 April 2015
SHOCKING new results have revealed Weston to be a regional hotspot when it comes to poor health, with more than a fifth of the town's population struggling with long-term health conditions.
Weston has the highest percentage of people – almost 22 per cent – whose lives are impacted daily by long term illnesses, such as diabetes or dementia, out of all South West parliamentary constituencies with popuations exceeding 100,000.
The figures also rank the town eighth overall, out of some 55 constituencies.
According to the North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), it spends approximately £7million annually treating people with these long-term conditions.
The CCG also pledged in its two-year operational plan, published in 2014, to adopt a ‘targeted approach’ to reducing unscheduled care admissions and emergency department visits through the ‘proactive management of known patients’ – including those with long-term health issues.
Weston’s mayor, Roz Willis, said: “We have been working for some years now with our health partners to prevent and educate people about health issues, primarily in the South and Central wards.
“We do not want the system we have now, where people have diabetes and other health problems in old age, to continue. It won’t be a quick fix, but I hope to see an improvement in at least 10 years’ time, if not sooner.”
It is hoped that the development of a care initiative across North Somerset will help to improve patient treatment. The NHS personal health budget scheme, rolled out in 2012, was expanded yesterday (Wednesday) to help more people in North Somerset manage these conditions.
Julia Counsell is a project manager at Partner2Care, an independent advisory service for people in North Somerset with a personal health budget.
She said: “Personal health budgets will really get patients involved in their care. The aim is to provide a personalised health care plan, so a patient’s needs can be best identified.
“Budgets really depend on the person’s needs. For example, they can offer things like having a personal care assistant rather than an agency staff member coming to visit you. This means a patient has choice over who comes into their house and can build a rapport with them.
“It is all about what a patient wants and needs to manage their care.”