The NHS is under pressure. With people living longer, more people having long-term conditions, and people’s lifestyle choices affecting their health, the health service has never been in greater demand.
That’s why enabling people to live healthier lives is one of the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. To help prevent people from becoming ill and needing support, and to give people greater control over their wellbeing, the NHS wants to support people to look after themselves better.
Local NHS services now need to hear from people in their communities about how the goals set out in the Long Term Plan should be implemented locally. The public are being asked to share their views about how the NHS can help them to stay well.
One woman told us she thinks education is key.
“I think to help people live healthier lives we should focus the local NHS plan around the importance of education, especially around exercise and making people feel better about themselves,” says Jessica Hulbert, Pathways to Health Project Officer at the Saints Foundation, the official charity of Southampton Football Club, which exists to change the lives of children, young people, and adults at risk across Southampton and the surrounding areas.
Jessica believes that prevention is a much better way to help people live healthier lives and that more GPs should prescribe exercise classes and nutrition advice. She is currently working with Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group on educating older people about the benefits of exercise to help prevent future falls.
“I also think it’s important to educate GP surgeries on the importance of exercise, as getting people to do physical activity can be one of the best medications out there,” Jessica says.