Public health report calls for action to tackle inequalities and grow the economy
This year’s report from the Director of Public Health looks at the relationship between health and wealth, and how improving the health of Gloucestershire by tackling inequalities can also improve the local economy.
Gloucestershire is typically a healthy place but this overall picture hides inequalities throughout the county. Generally, men living in the least deprived parts of Gloucestershire can expect to live 8.1 years longer than men living in the most deprived areas and women can expect to live 5.3 years longer.
Studies suggest it’s not just health services that affect our health, but factors such as our work, income, education, environment, and social networks make up around half of our overall health and wellbeing.
We know that a healthy and happy workforce is a more productive one. Healthy employees are three times more productive than those in poor health, and the costs of sickness and reduced productivity are estimated to be over £100bn a year! So what’s good for health can also be good for the economy.
Sarah Scott, director of public health at Gloucestershire County Council, commented: “Growing national evidence shows that when investment is made to tackle inequalities, productivity improves and the economy grows, leading to a cycle of further investment where as many people as possible can benefit – this is called inclusive growth. No one organisation can do this alone and my report makes recommendations to partners across different sectors to deliver this ambition.”
The report, Healthonomics, sets out clear ways to achieve this:
- Driving social mobility by giving everyone the opportunity to build a good life for themselves, regardless of their family background.
- Creating places where essential transport, affordable housing, employment, land, and digital infrastructure are in place to benefit everyone.
- Introducing ‘healthy’ workplaces that offer good quality, flexible work that provides a decent living wage and opportunities for development.
- Collaborating with large local institutions such as the NHS and university to use their spending and employment power to the benefit of local people and the local economy.