Health Inequality in Wandsworth: Turning Aspiration into Reality

Director of Public Health Annual Report 2020

Read the Introduction below.

The full report is available in PDF and Word Document formats:

Introduction

Obtaining and having good health and wellbeing is holistic – it includes physical, social, emotional, cultural, mental and environmental wellbeing, for individuals and for the “place” i.e. the system and community. The best way of ensuring a long life in good health is to have a goodstart in life, a good education, a warm and loving home and an income sufficient to meet our needs. At times this can be unequal and not all in society can expect or achieve this.

Wandsworth is a vibrant and well-connected borough, with many community assets, attractions and facilities. However, inequalities exist. Across Wandsworth there is life expectancy (LE) gap and our vision is to reduce this gap and continue to ensure our communities are healthy, happy and achieve their aspirations. (Wandsworth Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2015-20).

Wandsworth has an estimated 328,828 residents, the second highest in inner London, and a growing population. The increase in the local population is currently driven by natural change (more births than deaths) and in the next 10 years by large new housing developments e.g. Nine Elms. The population of Wandsworth is much younger than both the London and England average. Nearly half of all people living in Wandsworth are aged between 25 and 44 years old. It has a high proportion of people aged between 30 and 34, creating a young population ‘bulge’ which is unique nationally.

This report shares the steps we have taken to address health inequalities through population level interventions using borough assets to promote healthy lives and also highlight areas where we need to do more. Effective place-based action requires action based on civic, service and community interventions, along with system leadership and planning.

Our priorities were providing healthy places through urban design, healthy homes and building community assets. We ensured that interventions target those in most need through a sustained focus on mental health prevention, early intervention, control and recovery. This combination of actions from all parts of the system has started to reduce health inequalities at population scale. We need to continue and build on our good collaborative work.