Sheffield City Council aim to improve and introduce more preventative care services in Sheffield.

The meeting, held yesterday, saw local government and health services working together to understand community needs in order to improve Sheffield’s health.

The scrutiny meeting provided an opportunity for the council to hear community and voluntary groups such as Voluntary Action Group Sheffield, Sheffield Action Dementia Alliance, Zest and SOAR. These groups carry out community support work across Sheffield including in Burngreave and Pitsmoor.

The groups discussed successful preventative measures they have put in place in the community and gave ideas on how the council could help them improve.

Ian Drayton, Partnership Manager at SOAR Sheffield said “We have developed social cafes and have been running Burngreave library. It’s not just a library, there are people who come for information and who come to participate in clubs.

The libraries should be community hubs, they should be the first place for people to go to for information and to meet the community and we should start to think about doing that around the city.

We have been living in austerity. We need to fundamentally rethink how we provide services in all sectors. People talk about change, but we are not currently seeing it.”

The meeting also addressed the issue of mental health in Sheffield with statistics revealing that 50% of mental illnesses are established by age 14 and 75% by 24.

Jim Billns, Director of Mental Health Transformation, NHS Sheffield said “There is a clear commitment by Sheffield to tackle mental health. Let’s encourage people to talk about mental illness and encourage people to get help however small. Let’s stop poorly children becoming poorly adults.”

The aim of preventative care is to spot certain physical and emotional needs before health deteriorates and more serious medical attention has to be sort.

Chris Peace, a cabinet member for health and social care said: “We have a fantastic health service in Sheffield but what we want is for people to need it less. We are very ambitious, but things aren’t good for many people in this city.

We have a problem in terms of funding but more than that we are seeing the effects of 8 years of austerity. How fantastic would it be if hospital beds weren’t full? That’s what we need to aim for.”

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