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People in Gloucester live 10 years less than those in parts of the Cotswolds

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

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MORTALITY rates show people living in Gloucester are dying 10 years before those in part of the Cotswolds.

Lung disease and obesity are major factors in people in Gloucester having lower life expectancy than residents in Moreton-in-Marsh.

As a result, the Clinical Commissioning Group has earmarked health inequalities in the county as one of its biggest challenges.

The group, which is made up of part-time GPs, replaces the Primary Care Trust NHS Gloucestershire in April. Its chairman Dr Helen Miller said better management of public money and ensuring patients get the right care at the right time are also priorities.

"We need the support of public health to help us focus on prevention, rather than treating symptoms of obesity and smoking," she said.

"If we can do that in future, we will not be in the pickle that the NHS currently finds itself in. We need to be developing more efficient levels of care."

Councillor Andrew Gravells, Shire Hall cabinet member for health and wellbeing, who lives in Gloucester said overall, the county was healthy.

"There are areas where we need to target resources to address some of the more serious health inequalities," he said.

"I am keen for us do more work around issues such as childhood obesity which is much higher in certain areas than others.

"The transfer of public health to Gloucestershire County Council will enable us to continue the fantastic work that has already been started by the PCT, It will also give us a good opportunity to review how services are commissioned and received to ensure issues around health inequality are tackled as robustly as possible."

It is hoped restructuring NHS services will offer better value for money and more joined up thinking to care services.

Sue Heady, of Moreton-in-Marsh town council, believes access to health services there is excellent. "There is an older population here, mainly because it is pretty flat with no hills to worry about," she said.

"There are two doctors' surgeries in High Street and just off it and I have never had any problems with appointments.

"Now North Cotswold Hospital is open, services have improved still. Although when both doctors move there it could make access harder for them."

Dr Miller, who will continue to work part-time as a GP, will lead management of the £750 million NHS annual budget in Gloucestershire. She said the group will engage more closely with volunteers and patient participation groups to improve NHS efficiency.

The way budgets are spent to tackle conditions like diabetes could also be reassessed. Increasing education in schools by promoting sport and healthy living, will help reduce a diabetes risk, it is hoped.

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