Published Thursday 29 September 2022 at 12:48
The Director of Public Health annual report outlining the health and wellbeing of Blackburn with Darwen’s residents has been published. The annual report is entitled Resilience & Growth – Emerging from COVID-19 as a thriving Blackburn with Darwen.
The Director of Public Health annual report is a statutory requirement and also essential in setting out key health challenges in each area and detailing how each local authority and their partners are working to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities in their communities.
This year’s report sets out a past, present and future health and wellbeing outlook, guiding the reader through the challenges of the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, the current cost of living crisis situation and the ambitious plans for inclusive economic growth in the borough.
The report as well as being an independent assessment by the local Director of Public Health is also a historical document that, once read from the future, articulates the important issues of the day and provides recommendations on how these can be addressed for improved outcomes.
Also prominently featured in the report are the focus on the ongoing work to tackle health inequalities in Blackburn with Darwen, sustain community and individual resilience, tackle the ongoing cost of living crisis and the create inclusive growth and prosperity of the borough.
Some of the main findings of the report include:
- As a result of COVID-19 life expectancy in the borough decreased in 2020. With life expectancy for males in the borough 4 years below the national average and 2.9 years lower for females.
- Up to the end of March 2022, Blackburn with Darwen’s cumulative COVID-19 infection rate was 36,607 per 100,000, which was the 3rd highest in England yet the death rate was 42nd highest nationally.
- Cost of Living Crisis – 15.6% of households in the borough are fuel poor, compared to 14.4% in the North West and 13.2% in England.
Key positive issues outlined in the report include:
- Blackburn with Darwen’s Help Hub was set up in late March 2020 by volunteers to give access to goods and services for our most vulnerable residents in the borough throughout the pandemic. By the end of March 2022, 5,564 requests for support had been dealt with by the Help Hub.
- Over the last 4 years the borough has seen delivery of around 1,500 new homes, following an ambitious approach aimed at re-balancing the housing market and improving quality
- The total numbers of jobs in the borough, including those employing workers who commute into the area, has grown from 72,000 jobs in 2015 to 76,000 in 2020.
Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Wellbeing, and Blackburn with Darwen Health and Wellbeing Board Chair, said:
This is a vital report in so many ways, especially as it extensively covers the Covid-19 Pandemic which was the most momentous health and societal challenge of our lifetimes.
I would like to give huge credit to the hard work of Blackburn with Darwen’s Public Health team in producing this crucial report which aims to capture the whole picture for the borough’s health and future prospects.
It highlights the importance of tackling the health inequalities we face. We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all our residents in the borough, and this report gives us a clearer picture of the key issues and challenges that we are already addressing.
The Health and Wellbeing Board has welcomed the annual report and we will be working closely with the Public Health team and partners to tackle all these issues as we look to the future.”
Abdul Razaq, Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health, said:
This is our first Public Health Annual Report since the Covid-19 Pandemic, which as we know caused multiple and unforeseen impacts that have severely affected not only our borough and communities but societies worldwide.
Addressing these unprecedented impacts in the aftermath of the pandemic crisis is a difficult but vital task and a large part of this report understandably focuses on this along with the resilience in the face of adversity which has been a strength in our borough.
Good public health requires collaborative approaches with partners and the community where everyone works together to build and strengthen its resilience. This report aims to set out our approach and learning from the last few years and work towards solidifying the strong relationships and resilience we have in Blackburn with Darwen.
This puts us in a good position to make sure residents are given the best possible opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing, and also means we can now look more to the future, to look forwards after a long period of defensive measures and short term goals battling the pandemic.
We are ambitious in our health and wellbeing goals and ambitious in our goals for continued growth, skills and employment to deliver improved life chances for all communities, and together build a more prosperous and thriving borough.”