PLANS have been announced to improve health and care services in north east Essex and Suffolk.

A five-year plan has been published by the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board highlighting the aims of the local integrated care system.

The plan looks to “reduce the inequalities in people’s experiences of living well”.

The board spoke with people living in north Essex via online surveys, video and face to face meetings to build the list of priorities in the five year plan.

The priorities listed by the board are "start well, feel well, be well, stay well, age well and die well".

Gazette: Hospital- outside Colchester General HospitalHospital- outside Colchester General Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

In the plan it states one of the key aims is to tackle “the significant gap in life expectancy that we see in our system".

There are 1,058,560 people registered with general practitioners in Suffolk and north east Essex, with 370, 589 in north east Essex.

Out of this, a total of 116,673 people in Suffolk and north east Essex are living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas nationally, of which the majority live in Tendring and Ipswich.

The difference in life expectancy is 7.4 years in men and 5.9 years in women for individuals born in the most deprived areas in Suffolk and north east Essex.

According to the report “this has increased over time, showing that health inequalities are widening”.

The leading causes of death include circulatory conditions, cancer and respiratory conditions.

By 2028, they hope to have supported people to stop smoking, live a healthier life, avoid loneliness, reduce health concerns relating to obesity and provide more information on maintaining good sexual and reproductive health.

Gazette: Deputy- deputy chief executive Richard WatsonDeputy- deputy chief executive Richard Watson (Image: Richard Watson)

Richard Watson, the Integrated Care Board’s deputy chief executive, said: “We are delighted to publish our Joint Forward Plan which is built upon the views of the community and our partners.

"Our vision is to deliver the best possible outcomes for every one of the million people in Suffolk and north east Essex.

"We are committed to delivering improvements in health and care with a focus on eradicating health inequalities, namely the significant gap in life expectancy, that exists across our geographical area.

“Please do take some time to read this plan and support us in its delivery.”