Friday, 20 November 2009

Improving Health in Manchester - but not by bike!

In November 2008, Manchester NHS unveiled a strategy document entitled "Improving Health in Manchester: Commissioning Strategic Plan 2009-2014" (1) Amongst a range of concerns the strategy focusses on the need to reduce the levels of obesity in the Manchester population and wanted to tackle childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles for families with young children.

The strategy highlights the clear cost benefits from people becoming active and states that the "cost saving for each person becoming active is £370 per annum" and this was "a prudent estimate as it excludes savings generated from other areas such as patients that stop smoking (2010)" [Page 68]

Supporting and encouraging children and adults to cycle to school or work is a great way for people to include exercise in their everyday routines. So it is very disappointing to see that this strategic plan for "Improving Health in Manchester" doesn't seem to include the words bicycle, cycling or cyclist and the word "cycle" is only mentioned in relation to the "comissioning cycle" or "disease cycle".

The foreword to the plan ends by claiming that this "plan explains how we intend to address these issues over the next five years. Manchester’s journey to a happier, healthier and wealthier city is well underway and we are proud to be playing our part – we hope you will be too."

It's a shame that Manchester NHS's vision would appear not to see people making this journey by bicycle!


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