Priority 1: Prioritising prevention and improving future health outcomes through tackling health inequalities
What this means to me
I will be supported to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life, being equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to prevent ill health and maintain my independence at home, whilst knowing that effective services are in place for me to access should the need arise. This will include having access to support relating to the wider aspects of my life, including housing, employment and finances.
As a system we want to prioritise supporting our population to remain as independent and healthy as possible, whilst also providing effective, timely and accessible treatment and care when required, from early years through to the end of life.
Informed by engagement, we have identified three key areas that we need to focus on in order to prioritise prevention and improve future health outcomes locally. They are:
- reducing health inequalities
- prioritising prevention and wider determinants to protect the health and wellbeing of people and communities
- enabling the best start in life for children and young people.
Nationally, prevention has been placed at the heart of the newly developed Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and forms a key aspect of the NHS Long Term Plan and the Care Act 2014. This focus reflects the ever-increasing evidence base demonstrating the benefits and cost-effectiveness of shifting resources ‘upstream’ towards prevention. Locally, prevention is not only at the forefront of our vision for Coventry and Warwickshire ICS and a key ICB principle, but more importantly there is a genuine drive across partners within our system, exhibited throughout stakeholder and also community engagement, for prevention to be given the priority it deserves moving forward. This includes an all age, whole population approach to personalised care, where people are supported to manage their health and wellbeing rather than only receiving treatment when they get ill, which is a key component of the prevention commitment
Unprecedented demand on health and social care services means that protecting public health and preventing physical and mental ill health and disability and the associated need for care have never been more important or relevant and there is arguably no better way of ensuring the sustainability of our services. By focusing on prevention at all levels across the system, future health outcomes for our population, and demand for health and care services in Coventry and Warwickshire can be improved.
As we strive towards equity, some groups will need to have more opportunities to benefit from these improvements in future health outcomes than others. Currently inequalities exist in health outcomes and life chances nationally and across Coventry and Warwickshire; these inequalities are well documented and remain largely unchanged. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted and unfortunately further exacerbated these inequalities, which in part has led to a national drive to reduce health inequalities through programmes such as NHS England’s National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme (HiQiP) and more locally through our Health Inequalities Strategic Plan. Our public engagement highlighted the negative impact of such inequalities locally, particularly for Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
While the health and care an individual receives is important, we know that as much as 80% of a person’s long-term health is related to wider factors, including employment, housing and education. The Integrated Care System is a unique opportunity to provide a more holistic approach to health and care across the system, to enable people to access the support they need relating to these wider determinants of health, to create and support healthy communities and environments in Coventry and Warwickshire. Local authorities will be crucial to this work and how we work with VCSE organisations.
We also know that happy and healthy children and young people have more chance of becoming happy and healthy adults and that adverse events in childhood can have a life-long impact. There is no better place to start when thinking about prevention and future outcomes than by focusing on children and young people, a time when the foundations of a healthy and fulfilled life are being laid.