Childhood obesity among NHS priorities

HEALTH bosses today revealed a series of pledges backed by senior doctors and nurses in the region in to improve care - including reducing childhood obesity.

HEALTH bosses today revealed a series of pledges backed by senior doctors and nurses in the region in to improve care - including reducing childhood obesity.

The East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has worked with NHS frontline staff to draw up measurable pledges for the next three years.

It is also offering the public a chance to have its say on the region's NHS care by holding a consultation event.

The consultation will allow patients, the public and NHS staff to comment on what they think should be the SHA's priorities.

The pledges include making it easier to see GPs at more convenient times, reducing cases of heart disease, stroke and cancer, cutting the number of smokers, halting the rise in childhood obesity and making sure NHS dentists are available.

Neil Mckay, chief executive of the SHA, said: “We do not make these pledges lightly. They seek to build on areas where the NHS is already delivering well, but they also seek to draw a line in the sand in areas where improvement is needed.

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“I want as many people as possible to give us their views on these pledges, so that we can move forward together as a health service with the support of staff, patients, our partners and the public in delivering what we have collectively agreed to be our priorities."

The SHA's three year vision is called Improving Lives; Saving Lives. The overarching aim is to add 5million years of life to people in the east by 2011 by reducing unfairness in health, saving more lives and promoting good health.

The other pledges are improving patient satisfaction, extending quicker access to health services, making the region's healthcare system the safest in England, improving the lives of people with long-term illnesses, halving the difference in life expectancy between the poorest 20per cent of communities and the rest of the east and ensuring healthcare is as available to marginalised groups as it is to the rest of the population.

The consultation is being launched on Monday and will run until November 30.

N Do you think the pledges will go towards improving healthcare in the region? What pledges would you like to see? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

In the east of England, 40 NHS bodies and around 109,000 staff provide healthcare to 5.4million people.