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Leicester's Care, Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2022-2027

Why do we need a strategy?

There are significant health inequalities between different areas within Leicester, as well as many health and wellbeing outcomes in Leicester being significantly worse than the England average.

The city has many areas of deprivation, and the difference in health outcomes between the most and least deprived areas of the city is stark. These differences have also been seen in the levels of coronavirus infection and deaths in different areas, as well as the wider impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between men living in the most and least deprived areas of the city. Those living in the most deprived areas of Leicester will live more years in poor health than those in the least deprived. Reducing this inequality within our city can only be achieved by focusing on those in greatest need and working with them to reduce the many different factors that may have a negative influence on their health and wellbeing.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has and continues to have a major impact on people. Food poverty increased in 2020. People in lower paid roles or with zero hours contracts were facing greater financial instability. Those whose employers could not fund time off work for self-isolation or those who were not eligible for financial support to isolate may have found themselves having to work regardless to be able to feed their family.

Children from disadvantaged families, and children of black and minority ethnicities lost more learning time due to lockdowns and self-isolation than those from wealthier areas. Carers of all ages will have found themselves under greater strain as a result of lockdowns. The cost of living is rising, with major increases in the cost of energy bills likely to increase the number of people living in fuel poverty over the coming months.

One of the main aims of this strategy is to reduce health inequalities. These are unfair and avoidable differences in health due to a range of factors

No matter where we live, our health behaviours are influenced by our wider environment. Behaviours such as smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, poor diet and inactivity are greater in many parts of our city than they should be. This leads to a poorer quality of life, a shorter life expectancy overall and to an increase in rates of heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease, the leading causes of death in the city.

Around 48,500 people in Leicester are living with more than one long term physical or mental health condition. In Leicester, 25% of people living with diabetes have five or more additional health conditions, and 35% of those living with depression have three or more additional health conditions.

There is a clear link between people’s mental and physical health. When a person is struggling with poor mental health, their physical health is likely to suffer too, and vice versa. People with poor mental health are more likely to engage with unhealthy behaviours and poor lifestyle choices, contributing to premature death. In Leicester it is estimated that between 34,000 and 38,000 people live with a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety, and around 3,400 people live with an enduring mental health condition, such as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.

Approximately 30,000 people are socially isolated in the city. Social isolation and loneliness have a direct negative impact on mental and physical health and can make existing health problems worse. This impacts on people of all ages, particularly older people, but this is becoming increasingly common amongst younger people aged 16 -24 years.

These key issues affecting the health of people in Leicester are the core themes of this strategy