Rutland County Council will promote healthy lifestyles as part of national services shake-up

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Smoking, drinking and obesity problems will be tackled by new campaigners after the responsibility for public health changed hands.

Rutland County Council has taken over from the NHS to promote healthy lifestyles in a shake-up of national services.

The council will lead the way in encouraging people to follow active and healthy lifestyles, with a strong focus on education and prevention.

Councillor Christine Emmett, the portfolio holder for health and social care, said: “We have worked closely with the NHS in recent years to improve public health and look forward to continuing this good work.

“Public health is a top priority for the council and we see many benefits of this natural fit with our work in the key areas of social care, education, active recreation and housing.”

The county is already one of the healthiest places in the country with a quarter of adults taking regular exercise.

Rutland also has less smokers than many places, with 16 per cent of the population being smokers compared to 21 per cent nationally. Obesity levels are also lower than the national average at 21 per cent compared to 24 per cent and life expectancy for both men and women is longer.

Joint director of public health for Rutland, Mike Sandys, said: “Rutland is already an extremely healthy county but there is always more work that can be done. We are committed to focussing our efforts on the areas which need further improvement and will make a real difference to people in the community.”

The council will work in partnership with Leicestershire County Council. No campaigns have been finalised but their priorities include giving children the best start in life and supporting independent living for elderly people.

A new watchdog has also been set up. Healthwatch Rutland is an independent consumer support service which gives people a chance to air their views on health and social care. It is supported by Voluntary Action Leicestershire.

Chief executive Kevan Liles said: “We will work with stakeholders to offer an effective voice for patients and public.”

Contact Healthwatch Rutland on 0116 2574 999.