“Healthier Fleetwood” is about making Fleetwood a healthier place to live for current residents and generations to come. It focuses on “what makes me well” rather than “what’s made you ill”.
Nationally the gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society is widening. It’s clear that the traditional Public Health messages around stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, loosing excess weight and taking more exercise just aren’t being listened to in deprived communities.
Parts of Fleetwood are areas of significant deprivation with high prevalence rates for all long-term conditions and lower than national average life expectancy levels.
I’ve been a GP in Fleetwood for over 25 years. Have I had a positive influence on people’s health? Well, hopefully yes, but only on an individual one-to-one basis. Detecting early cancer, recognizing the early symptoms of heart disease and helping people with depression certainly improve their health, but this is more about managing illness rather than keeping people well.
My view is that over these past 25years the overall health of Fleetwood hasn’t really improved much at all. Modern sedentary, high calorific life styles are certainly bad for your health.
So how can we create health?
When I suggest to patients that stopping smoking, knocking the vodka on the head and eating more healthily would help them, a fairly common response is “why should I? What’s the point? My life is rubbish. Getting through today is hard enough, so why bother about tomorrow? Just give me some pills and I’ll be out of your way”.
What if we could make a “wellness” pill that created yeas of added life, giving added years of healthy living.
However people don’t need a pill for wellness. They need hope. They need to be able to look forward to tomorrow. They need to choose to be healthier today so that they can enjoy tomorrow, with their children and their grandchildren.
Hope, a sense of purpose and control over your own life and your environment will bring major health benefits for individuals and the whole community. This is Health Creation.
of your own life and your own decisions.control and being in confidence to others, gaining self-ConnectingWe talk about “The 3 C’s”.
There are already a number of NHS Services, local authority community projects, Fleetwood Town FC initiatives and self-help groups around that put some of this into practice. Walking Football is a great example. The first phase of Healthier Fleetwood is to connect people together using theseexisting things.The really powerful stuff will come when residents start to take control and become the “doers”, rather than the people that are the "do to”.
This is when the alchemy of Health Creation really starts to happen.
We want to know what really matters to you, rather than what’s the matter with you.
·How could our current public open spaces, local parks and the beach, be better used or developed to improve your health?
·What else would help you to lead a healthier life?
This isn’t just about physical health but probably even more importantly about mental health and mental wellness.
This is only the start of our journey. Please visit our fledgling website to learn how to get involved.
Dr Mark Spencer
GP; Mount View Practice. Fleetwood
FTFC Club Doctor: 2008 to 2014