NHS England has announced the creation of 10 'healthy new towns', to boost public health outcomes.
The towns will be designed individually with the local population in mind to provide technologically integrated services, and innovative ways of providing primary care services. Other public health initiatives that will be associated with the towns include fast-food-free zones around schools, creation of a ‘virtual care home’ to avoid institutionalisation, and ‘care-ready homes’ specially designed to be adaptable to the needs of people with long-term conditions.
‘The much-needed push to kick start affordable housing across England creates a golden opportunity for the NHS to help promote health and keep people independent,’ said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England. ‘As these new neighbourhoods and towns are built, we’ll kick ourselves if in 10 years time we look back having missed the opportunity to "design out" the obesogenic environment, and "design in" health and wellbeing.’
Some of the sites of the new housing developments include Whitehill and Bordon in Hampshire, which will have a 'care campus' complete with a nurse-led treatment centre for long term conditions. Cranbrook in Devon, will focus on how healthy lifestyles can be taught in schools, and Darlington, which will work to improve the care provided in nursing homes. Some of the developments are already built or in process, but others will not be completed until 2030. The developments will be built on a mixture of existing and new sites.
‘Some of the UK’s most pressing health challenges – such as obesity, mental health issues, physical inactivity and the needs of an ageing population – can all be influenced by the quality of our built and natural environment,’ said Kevin Fenton, national director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England. ‘The considerate design of spaces and places is critical to promote good health. This innovative programme will inform our thinking and planning of everyday environments to improve health for generations to come.’
Collectively there will be 76,000 new homes, with the potential capacity for approximately 170,000 residents.