- Chris Morris
- Sep 29, 2015
- 5897 Views
That British Medical Association has supported a new NHS programme intended at improving nutrition across the nation.
The so-called Healthy New Towns programme aims to put health at the heart of new neighbourhoods and towns across the country.
According to research, the UK loses 140 million working days due to ill-health every single year, and a significant proportion of this can be attempted to poor diet and other preventable causes.
Symptomatic of the decline in general health is the diabetes epidemic in the UK. The cost of this condition to the NHS is already £10 billion annually, and projections suggest that this will significantly increase in the coming years.
With this in mind, Healthy New Towns is intended to deliver a real health and financial impact, while delivering on key aims set out in the Five Year Forward View.
As part of the programme, five long-term partnerships will initially be selected from across the country, covering housing developments of different sizes, from smaller projects up to those over 10,000 units.
Each of these selected sites will then benefit from a programme of support, which will focus on global expertise in spatial and urban design, national sponsorship and increased local flexibility.
Their intention is to build new and cohesive communities that support physical and mental well-being.
The nature of the existing urban landscape is such that obesity, diabetes and other forms of intrinsic ill-health almost inherently flourish.
Some sources have described these heavily built up environment as obesogenic.
It is hoped that the Healthy New Towns programming can help create a healthier urban culture in which exercise is part of the everyday experience in particular.
Additionally, the technological revolution means that it is increasingly possible for people to access sophisticated medical information, and even treatment, within their own homes.
So a central pillar of the Healthy New Towns program is to help provide community health and social care services by designing and investing in the use of new digital technologies.
Independence within and outside of the home is considered to be an important principle of this initiative.
The British Medical Association has already indicated its support for, and enthusiasm about, this new programme.
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the former Children’s Commissioner, Office offered backing for the scheme at the Care Innovation Expo in Manchester.
Aynlsey-Green particularly emphasised the potential of the scheme to make a positive difference in young people’s lives.
“This is a fantastic initiative. I have been to some dismal modern estates with nothing for young people to do and I would urge that we build developments with children’s health at their hearts,” Aynlsey-Green stated.
NHS England, with support from Public Health England, has invited leading local authorities, housing associations and the construction sector to identify development projects where they would like NHS support in creating health-promoting new towns and neighbourhoods in England.