Top Huddersfield doctors warn increasing amount of people too "knackered" to work to retirement

Health chiefs claim people need to learn how to look after themselves

Dr Steve Ollerton

Huddersfield’s health chiefs have expressed concerns that many people are too physically “knackered” to make it to retirement.

Top GP, Dr Steve Ollerton, and Kirklees Council’s director of public health, Dr Judith Hooper, made the comments during the launch of Kirklees’ health and wellbeing strategy for the next six years.

Dr Ollerton, chairman of Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (GHCCG), said an “increasing amount” of his patients didn’t think they could handle working until their mid 60s.

“They’ve been working in physical jobs for 50 years but a lot of them still have five years to go,” he said.

“We can help them with that but there’s only so much we can do.”

Dr Hooper added: “We need to think about giving people the opportunity to adapt when they’re physically knackered.

“It’s about trying to retrain them to do other jobs.”

The meeting of Kirklees Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, a mixed committee of NHS and council staff, heard about the vision for enhancing health and the economy at the same time.

The so called ‘Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy’ bids to iron out health inequalities across Kirklees and enable people to better look after themselves.

Clr Kath Pinnock questioned how the strategy was going to be delivered amid the council’s shrinking resources.

Clr Cath Harris also warned against withdrawing services in favour of increased “self care”.

She said: “This is about people looking after themselves and in some places that can’t happen.”

Dr Hooper said making people more robust and able to help themselves would release resources for those that couldn’t

Director of Public Health Judith Hooper
Director of Public Health Judith Hooper
 

She added: “To be blunt a lot of people are poorly educated and they need help understanding how to take care of themselves in this increasingly complicated world.

“Getting people to think differently is the hardest bit.”

Alison O’Sullivan, Kirklees Council’s director for Children and Adults, said schools had a part to play in boosting the health of the next generation.

She said: “The amount of money for schools exceeds the council’s for the first time.

“There’s £338m going in and out of Kirklees schools.

“The system needs schools to find the right ways of engaging with the strategy and joining us to improve health.”

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