Labour puts wellbeing at the centre of future health policy, but no mention of activity
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Labour puts wellbeing at the centre of future health policy, but no mention of activity

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Our commitment is to help people live longer, happier, healthier lives

A Labour Government of the future would put wellbeing at the heart of all future policy decisions, as well as place a duty on health services and public bodies in England to take account of public health and wellbeing in their decision-making.

A proposed Future Generations Wellbeing Act has been launched by shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP, who said that: "The next Labour government will adopt a comprehensive, cross-government national strategy to tackle health inequalities, attacking the wider determinants of ill health, and putting prevention first".

When asked how the proposed act would impact on the activity sector, a Labour spokesperson said there were no details on this currently.

In spite of this, the focus on wellness by Labour and other political parties was welcomed by ukactive acting CEO, Huw Edwards.

He said: "Proposals such as this show the right instinct in putting wellbeing at the heart of policy, but a holistic approach is essential – ensuring that physical activity has an equal platform alongside nutrition, when it comes to physical and mental health solutions.

"We need to radically reprioritise what is most important in our lives, and we know that the prosperity of our nation is intrinsically linked to the health and happiness of our people.

"That means government must invest in supporting everyone to lead healthy and active lives, improving our mental health and delivering better care for our most vulnerable citizens."

Labour is to consult upon the proposed Act, which echoes legislation passed in recent times in Wales and New Zealand. However, as well as this "health in all policies" approach, the Act would also include "meaningful" national standards for population health and health inequalities; it would recognise the NHS as an "economic anchor" institution in communities, connect health services with Sustainable Development Goals, and place a new duty on local health services to reduce health inequalities.

Public health services will be fully funded and budgets ringfenced, according to the Labour Party statement.

The party would expand the Healthy Start programme, which provides eligible mothers and children with vouchers for healthy food and vitamins, pledging £26.8m for more fruit and vegetables for children – a sum which equates, it says, to 42.4 million pints of milk, plus 33 million apples, 6.5 million kilos of carrots and 4.3 million kilos of peas for the poorest children.

Ashworth added: "Our health policy will be driven not just by a focus on cure, but on radically improving prevention and social wellbeing too. Our commitment is to help people live longer, happier, healthier lives."

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A Labour Government of the future would put wellbeing at the heart of all future policy decisions, as well as place a duty on health services and public bodies in England to take account of public health and wellbeing in their decision-making.
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