Childhood obesity and ageing population are chief health issues

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The upsurge in obese children and frail and elderly people were key topics in an address given by health Chief Lou Pattern.

Speaking at Bucks County Council’s annual debate Lou Pattern, head of the Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group outlined the challenges facing the NHS in the region.

The clinical commissioning group is responsible for buying health services in the county, and Mrs Pattern said that more will be done in the future to facilitate patients managing their own conditions at home.

She also outlined the importance of all services working well together, to get a more streamlined and cost effective service. But Buckinghamshire’s health problems are growing, and Mrs Pattern described the statistic that one in five Bucks children is obese as ‘embarrassing’ and said that the CCG is looking at schemes where for example ‘ teachers of Year ten students should be given key performance indicators on how to decrease their pupils’ BMIs.’

Mrs Pattern also revealed that people in more rural areas of the county such as Buckingham could soon be given some health support via mobile phone FaceTime apps.

But, like council leader Martin Tett before her, Mrs Pattern singled out the issue of Bucks’ rapidly growing ageing population as cause for concern.

As part of her presentation Mrs Pattern said: “In 2015 around 10,700 Bucks residents are estimated to be frail elderly meaning those with more than one long term condition or those with a condition that needs assistance with activities of daily living. This is a approximately 11 percent of the elderly population.

“By 2020 the estimated frail elderly population is expected to rise to 12,000, this means a rise of 1,300.

“Evidence shows that the frail elderly population is three times more likely to end up in hospital compared to the non-frail older population aged 65 and over.

“Around 42% of the elderly population are considered pre-frail, which equates to around 45,000 people pre-frail in Bucks by 2020 compared to 40,000 in 2015,” Mrs Pattern added.

In a question and answer session after the address, Labour councillor Robin Stuchbury emphasised the importance of providing the means for disabled people to stay in their homes and be independent for longer.