Wellbeing is essential for our success

The Progress Party has a vision for its citizens to thrive in an island that supports their mental and physical health and wellbeing. We want children to grow up free of ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ and where the gaps in health outcomes between the rich and poor in Jersey are significantly reduced.

We know that our health is influenced by our surroundings, our economic circumstances, housing conditions and factors such as education, access to the natural environment and good transport systems. Over the next two decades, the prevalence of serious disease and ill health is due to rise substantially as our population ages and the number of people living on Jersey increases. The Progress Party will deliver on methods and initiatives to prevent illness and disease by addressing the root cause of conditions such as heart disease , diabetes, cancer and mental health conditions.

We will commit to putting the prevention of ill health and preventable disease higher on the islands health agenda, but to do this we will need to support a better resourced and focused Public Health Unit that will drive health initiatives locally. As noted in our sport paper, The Progress Party see the role of promoting the wider physical and mental wellbeing of islanders being overseen by a new body , Wellbeing Jersey , and this body would be directly responsible to the Public Health Director.

At present the government’s preventative health and wellbeing agenda should be driven through ‘The Health and Wellbeing Framework‘. This was intended to provide a systematic approach to preventative health measures. Although a Political Oversight Group (POG) was set up to oversee the framework to date there has been no commitment by the POG to deliver any new initiatives or maintain momentum in preventable health outcomes.

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Our developing Wellbeing Policy

 It will be the role of Wellbeing Jersey to set direction and coordinate action across government. They will monitor and promote the shift towards greater wellbeing and the prevention of ill health. They will promote policies and embed approaches that ensure health prevention and sustainable wellbeing considerations are at the heart of government decision making.

The Progress Party wish to be clear that better outcomes will need to be supported by strong collaboration with partner organisations such as Jersey Sport, the Education Department and many local charitable organisations. The Framework will be the responsibility of Wellbeing Jersey, but that body must become more divers, and include external membership. The work of Wellbeing Jersey will be monitored and evaluated in line with the Jersey Performance Framework (JPF). The JPF will set out how progress towards improved outcomes will be measured across government in a consistent and transparent way.

The Progress Party supports the concept of Sustainable Wellbeing being included within the Public Finances Law, and this must be at the heart of any future Government Plan. The Progress Party do not believe enough emphasis has been put on sustainable wellbeing by government during this political term and will ensure that Wellbeing Jersey are given the necessary political support to hold governments ‘feet to the fire’ in delivering the best outcomes for islanders based on all factors that affect our quality of life be they economic, social, environmental or cultural.

There can be no doubt that prevention is more cost effective than cure, and we must pay more than just lip service to the prevention agenda. The Progress Party will provide the stewardship to address the challenges we face. We will ensure efforts to improve islanders health are sustainable, based on need and truly make a difference.

To improve the quality of life and health and wellbeing outcomes of our citizens of all ages, The Progress Party will educate islanders about the sort of good lifestyle choices that will improve the lives of, not only the individual, but their families. We do not believe in a “nanny state”, but we do believe that islanders should be afforded the opportunity to make the right choices as they grow through their childhood and into adult life.

The following issues all need to be part of a systemic approach to improving wellbeing in Jersey :-

  • smoking

  • violence and hate crimes

  • substance abuse including alcohol

  • healthy weight 

  • early years childhood

  • integrated care system

  • adverse childhood experiences

  • health protection 

  • fuel poverty

  • one island approach

  • mental health

  • health protection

The above subjects are not an exhaustive list, but they show the diverse range of issues that affect so many of us.

The Progress Party is aware of the growing risk of poor mental health islanders of all ages and the damage it can do to young lives and families. For those islanders who suffer mental health distress, it is important that they can be offered the support and treatment they need as early as possible to prevent the issue becoming more serious. The treatment of, and for, mental health issues is covered within The Progress Party Health Policy and this Wellbeing Policy paper deals predominantly with prevention and education.

The Progress Party will build better relationships with all key partners, including those in the third sector, to offer islanders better health choices that will lead to less people being overweight or obese, fewer islanders smoking or drinking excessively, and hopefully more of us meeting the weekly recommended level of physical activity.