Longer and healthier lives: ambitious new health and care plan for North East and North Cumbria

Posted: 01/02/23

An ambitious new plan aims to help people live longer and healthier lives in the North East and North Cumbria by 2030.

Launched today, the Better Health and Wellbeing for All strategy recognises the region’s health challenges from lower life expectancy to some of the highest rates of child poverty in England and sets a series of demanding targets to improve lives.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, Chair of NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Our region has done a great deal to improve people’s health, but the statistics still make for difficult reading. Sadly, people here still die younger and live with illnesses for longer than in other parts of the country – especially¬†in our most deprived communities.

“In nine of our 13 local authority areas there is a healthy life expectancy of less than 60 years. There are only four areas in the whole of the south of England that are this low.

“Behind these figures are real people who could be living longer, healthier lives, and children who should be getting the best possible start in life. Not everyone has the same opportunities to be healthy because of where they grow up, live and work. That’s why we need to be ambitious and clear about what we want to change, together. We have set a vision and ambitions which we hope will reduce the gap between us and the rest of England, so that all our communities can live healthier and happier lives.”

The plan has been developed by the NHS, local councils and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations who have come together as an Integrated Care Partnership for the region.

Facts and figures about the region’s health paint a stark picture, showing just how much the plan is needed. We have the highest rate of drug-related deaths in England, the second highest rates for heart and liver disease, and some of the highest rates of suicide. Child poverty is double the England average in some areas, while respiratory disease rates are much higher than average.

Tom Hall, Director of Public Health in South Tyneside, said: “These are deep-seated problems, and no single organisation can tackle them alone – but with the strength of our NHS, local authorities, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations we can make a real difference.

“Together we have set four demanding goals for 2030. We want longer and healthier lives for people in our region, and everyone to have the same opportunities to stay healthy regardless of where they live or what they earn. We will work for high quality health and care services for everyone, with children getting the best start in life, wherever you live and whoever you are.

“That means growing our skilled workforce, harnessing new technology and working flexibly together to help people to stay healthy. We’ll also be advocating for more resources to tackle our needs, and becoming a greener region, because we know a healthier planet means healthier people.”

Our main goals for the North East and North Cumbria

Longer and healthier lives

Reduce the gap between our region and the England average in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at birth, by at least 10% by 2030.

Fairer outcomes

Reduce the inequality in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at birth between people living in the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods and the least deprived 20% – by at least 10% by 2030.

Better health and care services

To ensure not just high-quality services, but the same quality no-matter where you live and who you are.

Giving our children the best start in life

Increase the percentage of children with good school readiness at reception, especially for children from disadvantaged groups.

Our supporting goals by 2030 are to:

  • Reduce smoking from 13% of adults in 2020 to 5% or below
  • Reduce alcohol related admissions to hospital by 20%
  • Halve the difference in the suicide rate in our region compared to England
  • Reduce drug related deaths by at least 15% by 2030
  • Increase the number of people who survive cancer for five years by diagnosing 75% of cancers at an early stage
  • Increase the number of people with a healthy weight.
  • Reduce social isolation, especially for older and vulnerable people
  • Reduce the gap in life expectancy for people in the most excluded groups