Croydon’s Director of Public Health (DPH) has called on the council, its partners and communities to build on their work together and make Croydon a fairer place when it comes to residents’ health.
In her latest annual report, Rachel Flowers highlights local health inequalities and makes a raft of recommendations to ‘narrow the gap’ and improve residents’ health at every life stage.
These range from helping all parents to access antenatal care early on in their pregnancy, to tackling unconscious bias and discrimination, and combating loneliness and social isolation among older people.
In her report, Ms Flowers charts the Croydon life journey in 2022, starting from pre-birth and tracking the protective and risk factors that can influence residents’ health at different stages.
She describes how the pandemic and the rising cost of living have widened existing health inequalities, through factors such as missed schooling, increased food insecurity and poorer mental health.
She sets out how the council, its partners and communities have been working to tackle health inequalities, through measures such as improved mental health support for pregnant women and a new trauma informed training programme.
Recommendations for action include:
- Helping all parents to access antenatal care early on in their pregnancy
- Boosting breastfeeding support and promoting healthy eating for young children
- Tackling unconscious bias and discrimination
- Co-producing a plan with Croydon’s youth council to address inequalities
- Working with partner agencies to tackle drug and alcohol misuse, and domestic violence
- Supporting adults with mental health through successful initiatives like the Mental Health First Aiders
- Combating loneliness and social isolation among older people.
Rachel Flowers, Director of Public Health, said: “In highlighting the health inequalities that exist in our borough, my intention is to inspire us all to take collective action to make Croydon a fairer place – as a partnership and as individuals.
“We need to build on some of the very good work already being done in Croydon’s communities, with the council and partners working at a strategic level and all of us doing what we can to help.
“There are little things we can all do, from encouraging a pregnant friend to take up all the help and support available; to becoming a Mental Health First Aider – or even just knocking on the neighbours’ door to check they are ok.
“This year my report is a call to action for all of us – together we can and will make a difference.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, said: “I thank the Director of Public Health for her report which particularly highlights health inequalities.
“I have made it a Mayoral priority for all children and young people to get the best possible start in life, and for residents to live longer, healthier lives. This report emphasises just how important it is that we support our residents at the earliest stage and that we are here for them throughout their lives when they need us most.
“By targeting our resources to address some of these issues, we can ‘narrow the gap’ and make a real difference to our residents’ health.”