Health partners across Nottingham have made a fresh commitment to improving people’s lives in the city – with a focus on helping those from the poorest communities.

The Nottingham Health and Wellbeing Board has launched its four-year action plan up to the end of 2020, entitled Happier, Healthier Lives.

One of the key targets of the strategy is to work with some of the more deprived areas of the city where life expectancy rates are lower – and specifically to ‘add life to years, not just years to life’.

This means increasing what is known as Healthy Life Expectancy, which refers to the age that people can live to in good health.

In Nottingham, this is 57.8 years for men and 58.4 years for women – both of these are five-and-a-half years below the national average.

While people are generally living for longer, for many in poorer communities this is usually accompanied by years of failing health.

This has implications for individuals – due to an increased proportion of their life spent with illness and disability – and society more widely because of associated health and social care costs.

Happier, Healthier Lives has four main areas to enable progress to be made in the next four years:

1. Helping children and adults to adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
2. Helping children and adults to have positive Mental Wellbeing and to ensure that those with long-term mental health problems have good physical health
3. Encouraging a Healthy Culture in Nottingham where children and adults are supported to lead healthy lives and manage ill-health well
4. Nottingham’s Environment will be sustainable and support people to have good health and wellbeing

The strategy was put together following a number of citizen consultation events where more than 500 people from the city gave their views on what was important to them and their communities, and how the action plan should be shaped.

Councillor Alex Norris, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council and chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We really pleased to launch our new action plan and look forward to working with partners over the coming months and years to ensure it makes a real difference to people’s lives.

“We wanted to get this strategy right so we spent a great deal of time out in our communities, holding consultation sessions and really getting a feel of what health issues are a priority.

Happier, Healthier Lives is designed to be radical shift towards early intervention and prevention so we can help improve health at the same time as reducing admissions to hospital, while making sure patients are able to return home as soon as possible.”

Dr Marcus Bicknell, a city GP and vice-chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, added: “While we should celebrate the fact that people are living longer now than they ever have been, we know that often their later years are affected by increasingly complex health needs.

“These problems are preventable in many cases and our aim with this strategy will be to make sure that happens – therefore improving people’s lives and taking some strain off the health service locally.

“With help and support, from before pregnancy right through to end-of-life care, we hope to inspire people to live happier, healthier lives in Nottingham.”