Bradford Council are failing us at the cost of our health

Health and Wellbeing outcomes are possibly the most important part of our lives that Local Government have an impact on. Every year millions of pounds in grants are given to local authorities like the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council through Central Grants and Public Health budgets that when used well, can significantly change our lives for the better. A significant portion of Council Tax revenue is also put towards Health and Wellbeing.

Of course, Central Government policies are also key to our Health and Wellbeing too, but not as much as Local Government in my opinion. In Bradford, that message is very different from the Local Government leadership but we will get to that soon.

Central Government health policies are more focused on treatment than early intervention and prevention (EIP), which is left to the Local Government and where action can be taken to stop people from becoming ill in the first place. If you are being affected by Central Government policy, the chances are you are already ill and/or need acute care. It is with good reason that the Local Government is given the responsibility for EIP too. Take Bradford District, for example, it has one of the (if not the) youngest populations in the country, it is richly diverse in the ethnicity of its population and there are vast differences in prosperity between the inner city areas and the outer areas of the district.

So why would Local Government leaders in Bradford want to shift the blame to Central Government? There are two clear and obvious answers to that question. The first is to avoid scrutiny and responsibility. Laying the blame with Central Government allows Local Government to remain unscathed when things are not going well and this happens across council responsibilities, not just in Health and Wellbeing. The second answer is when you look at the state of Bradford’s performance on Health and Wellbeing, who wouldn’t want someone else to shoulder the blame? I remember as a child in school, there would always be that kid who caused chaos and then blamed someone else, this is what we’re are seeing from our Local Government leadership in Bradford.

There’s a lot of information below but please take the time to read it. You will see that life expectancy in Bradford is significantly worse than the average across England, as is cancer screening and many other things. You will also see that very little is improving over the past few years.

Local Government leaders in Bradford will tell you that this is due to cuts and austerity (passing the blame) but it is really important to remember that these are comparisons with the average performance of all councils in England, councils that are affected by those same reductions. So no, Bradford’s performance is not down to Central Government, it is a Local responsibility. This is an example of the issues that need to be considered when choosing who to vote for in Local elections.

All of the information below was presented to the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 16th February 2021. The reports itself can be found here and a recording of the meeting can be watched here.

Where we stand now:

Of the 132 indicators and sub-indicators where significance against the England
average has been tested, 70 are significantly worse, 40 are not significantly
different and 22 are significantly better. Table 1 shows a breakdown of this
information by domain.

How things are changing:

Of the 132 indicators and sub-indicators, 22 are ‘getting worse’ – the gap between
the district and England is widening; 14 are ‘getting better’ – the gap between the
district and England is narrowing, and 88 show no significant change over recent
years (Table 2).

Health performance in Bradford District, breakdown;

Life expectancy at birth:

  • Males – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Females – Significantly worse, no significant change

Healthy life expectancy at birth:

  • Males – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Females – Significantly worse, no significant change

Disability-free life expectancy at birth:

  • Males – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Females – Not significantly different,no significant change

Child poverty (proportion of children in absolute low income families):
Significantly worse, no significant change

16-17yr olds not in education, employment or training (NEET):
Significantly worse, no significant change

Social isolation – adult social care users:
Not significantly different, no significant change

Utilisation of outdoor space for exercise / health reasons:
Not significantly different, no significant change

Children achieving a good level of development at the end of Reception:
Significantly worse, significantly increasing

Child excess weight:

  • Reception – Not significantly different, no significant change
  • Year 6 – Significantly worse, significantly increasing

Smoking prevalence in adults:
Not significantly different, no significant change

Cancer Screening uptake:

  • Bowel Cancer – Significantly worse, significantly increasing
  • Breast Cancer – Significantly worse, significantly decreasing
  • Cervical Cancer – Significantly worse, significantly decreasing

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination:

  • 2 year olds; one dose – Significantly worse, significantly decreasing
  • 5 year olds; one dose – Not significantly different, significantly decreasing
  • 5 year olds; two doses – Significantly worse, no significant change

Dtap / IPV / Hib vaccination:

  • One year old – Not significantly different, significantly decreasing
  • Two year old – Not significantly different, significantly decreasing

Flu vaccination:

  • 2-3 year olds – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Primary school – Significantly worse, trend data not calculated
  • At risk individuals – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Aged 65+ – Significantly worse,no significant change

Premature mortality due to cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions:

  • Cancer – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Respiratory – Significantly worse, no significant change
  • Cardiovascular – Significantly worse, no significant change

Infant mortality:
Significantly worse, no significant change

Premature mortality in adults with a severe mental illness (SMI):
Significantly worse, trend data not calculated

Suicide rate:
Not significantly worse, no significant change

Written by Cllr Robert Hargreaves, Queensbury Ward
Shadow Executive Member for Healthy People and Places
Governor at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust
Member of Bradford District Health and Social Care Scrutiny
Member of Joint West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health Scrutiny
Member of Bradford District Wellbeing Board

Promoted by John Robertshaw on behalf of Bradford Conservatives Both of Merchants House, Peckover Street, Bradford. BD1 5BD

Promoted by John Robertshaw on behalf of Bradford Conservatives Both of Merchants House, Peckover Street, Bradford. BD1 5BD

Bradford Conservative Association 2021. All Rights Reserved.