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National report backs Boston health initiatives

Councillors have confirmed that a health profile for Boston prepared by Public Health England supports efforts being made to maintain and improve facilities which can assist health and wellbeing in the borough.

Since 2013 there has been a shift in public health responsibilities with local councils playing a much more important role in the health of the communities they serve.

Yesterday the Cabinet considered the profile for 2014 which headlined local priorities as being obesity, alcohol and tobacco.

The report revealed that in Boston 22 per cent of Year 6 children (ten and 11-year-olds) are classified as obese.

Deprivation was lower than average, although 17.7 per cent (2,100) children lived in poverty.

In 2012 just over a quarter of all adults in Boston were classified as obese and the rates of "alcohol-related harm" hospital stays was above the national average.

Life expectancy for men and women was equal to the national average.

But men in the most deprived areas of Boston died 8.8 years earlier than those in the least deprived parts.

Smoking-related deaths were better than the average for England, as was the rate of sexually-transmitted infections. Rates of cardiovascular disease were worse than average.

Statutory homelessness and long-term unemployment were better than average.

The council shares priority aims for Boston which include reducing the numbers who smoke, who are overweight or obese and to support people to be more active and to drink alcohol sensibly - the main causes of long-term health conditions affecting them.

It also supports a priority to improve the health and wellbeing of older people and to increase housing options.

Council leader, Cllr Peter Bedford, said improvements, much through partnership working, at the Peter Paine Sports Centre and the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex had seen usage increase, proving the council had a successful track record and could have similar achievements with the Princess Royal Sports Arena.

He hoped to have arrangements in place by this May to deliver all three facilities at an enviable cost of just £400,000 a year.

Cllr Mike Gilbert said partnership working was a great strength and "the envy of our peers".

Cllr Bedford said the PRSA would be turned around, from loss making to making a return for the council.

Cabinet referred recent recommendations for the future of the PRSA by the environment and performance committee to the full council for approval.

These will generate income and save cash through energy efficiencies and green energy subsidies to cover the cost of repairs and improvements at the PRSA.

The recommendations include agreeing lease arrangements with an operator so that the PRSA has a long-term future without ongoing revenue support from the council.