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Council unveils ‘joined-up’ approach to lifestyle services

Published on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

THE city council is reorganising the services it provides for people who need help to quit smoking, eat more healthily or increase their physical activity.

Lifestyle services focus on helping people to make healthier choices. Currently, they are run separately, but a new plan will see them integrated together to offer a more ‘joined-up’ approach to healthy lifestyles.

This means Leicester residents will be able to get help from a variety of different services after just one referral.

Under the plans, Leicester residents will be able to refer themselves, or get a referral from their GP. People will be able to get help and support digitally – for example from apps, websites and online chat forums – or by phone or text message, as well as face-to-face support.

People who have already made changes to their lifestyle will be encouraged to act as ‘activators’ in the community, helping to support others who want to make changes too.

It’s estimated that these plans could save the council around £1million. The current level of funding for the services is £1.76million.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on public health, said: “Government cuts to the public health budget mean we have to look at reorganising services to keep them cost-effective. But we’re determined to keep providing the best possible services – because we know they are much in demand.

“We’ve consulted on these plans and our proposals have generally been met with support. We have also gone through the council’s scrutiny process.

“It makes sense that if someone wants to give up smoking and get more active, they shouldn’t have to be referred to two separate schemes. Now there will be just one easy point of referral.

“People should be able to make use of digital, online and phone support if they want to and we would like to invest further in this. We also want to introduce support so that people can move more easily from using our lifestyle services to regularly using facilities like our outdoor gyms or leisure centres. In this way, we can help people to build healthy habits for life.”

Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, eating unhealthily and not being active enough can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases and other ill health.

Cardiovascular diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases account for two out of every three deaths in Leicester.

To find out more about the council’s lifestyle services, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/activeleicester or follow @ActiveLeicester on Twitter.

Find out more about stop smoking services at www.stopsmokingleic.co.uk

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