Public health strategy “robust” says health boss

FOLLOWING Tuesday (12 November) evening’s overview and scrutiny discussions on Thurrock’s Annual Public Health Report, portfolio holder Cllr Barbara Rice said it showed a “robust strategy to help reduce the unacceptable health inequalities”.

Cllr Rice said: “The important news contained in the full report was overshadowed by silly errors in the short report given to full council last month.”

Speaking after the Health and Well-being O&S meeting, she added: “It is imperative for the good of Thurrock people that we don’t get caught up in the hype and hysteria surrounding that error and lose track of what the report actually tells us.”

“On 1 April this year Thurrock Council became responsible for the local public health and this offers us a fantastic opportunity to put our efforts into improving the health of our communities.

“Our first Thurrock facts and figures report does give us some reasons for concern – but it also demonstrates we have a robust strategy to help reduce the unacceptable health inequalities.”

She said some of the worrying facts include 21.9 per cent of Thurrock children live in poverty; there is an 8.3 year life expectancy gap in men between the least and most deprived areas in Thurrock; 28.1 per cent of the adult population here is obese; 22.2 per cent of children in year 6 are obese; and a higher percentage of people die from lung cancer and smoking-related diseases in Thurrock that the East of England.

Cllr Rice said: “Although some of these figures are concerning, now these areas of are within the council’s responsibility, we have an opportunity to put measures in place to address them.

“Twelve priorities were agreed unanimously at full council in October to begin the very difficult work of delivering more with less and helping more people to live healthier, illness-free lives for longer.

“That is what we must focus on. We know the problems and we’ve set out how we’re going to tackle them. Over the coming years we will be judged on how successful we’ve been.”

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