IT’S strange to think that’s it’s been over two and a half years since Greater Manchester signed the agreement to get full control of its £6 billion health and social care budget.
Since then, the transformation of our health and social care services in Greater Manchester has been driving forward at a steady pace.
That being said, I know that most people in Tameside, quite rightly, want to know what it all means for them. At its heart, taking control of our health and social care budget means that any decisions that affect Tameside will be made by people in Tameside. A big focus so far has been on preventive care, improving the quality of life of our residents and reducing demand on services by encouraging people to take charge of their own health.
To meet that goal, local government and the NHS have teamed up to provide a range of useful information and services. One of the most interesting is Change 4 Life, which shows people how to make small, sustainable and significant improvements to their health and diet.
Their website in particular is worth a look, as it contains everything from facts about different kinds of food, ideas for activities and recipes and fun games for young people. It’s absolutely one of the first places I’d go if I wanted to learn more about healthy living.
There are other helpful services closer to home. Every month our public health service puts out online “Picture of Health” information sheets themed around a particular focus, including health risks for particular groups of people, conditions like cancer or heart disease, and lifestyle factors such as tobacco and alcohol consumption. Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust are also running a summer-long series of free health and wellbeing sessions at Ashton Primary Care Centre, covering subjects such as portion control, eating well and understanding food labels. You can contact them at 0161 716 2000 for more information.
So if you want to work on your health and lifestyle, I encourage you to take a look at the tools that are on offer to help you out. Our ambition is to bring life expectancy in Tameside up to at least the English average. It will make people’s live better, and it will save our health and social care services money. More importantly than either of those though, it is simply the right thing to do.