The cost-of-living crisis is having a “detrimental” effect on York residents’ health, according to a health watchdog.
Healthwatch York presented a report on how rising costs are negatively affecting people’s wellbeing to the Health and Wellbeing Board on Tuesday (25 July).
The organisation spoke to 200 people in York between 10 February and 17 March who answered questions on how high prices have affected them.
Manager Sian Balsom listed a wide range of ways people are suffering, including using food banks and skipping meals.
“Our key findings were that the increase in cost-of-living is having a detrimental effect on York residents’ physical and mental health,” she said.
“York residents are deeply concerned about having to keep themselves and their families warm.
“People are having to skip meals and/or rely on foodbanks, irrespective of which ward they are living in.
“Residents are reducing their consumption of healthy foods due to rising costs.
“Those whose answers indicated that they are depressed and/or clinically anxious are disproportionately impacted.
“Rising costs are beginning to have an impact in households that have previously reported as managing.
“York residents are adapting by changing their spending and living habits, dipping into savings and increasing their borrowing.
“But feelings of isolation have increased by not being able to afford associated costs with socialising such as transport.”
‘This isn’t normal’
Ms Balsom addressed the board, saying: “I hope around this table we can agree that this isn’t normal, it’s not okay, life should be richer.”
Cllr Jo Coles, the board’s chair, said: “This is a very powerful report,” and described its findings as “deeply concerning.”
Dr Emma Broughton, chair of York Health and Care Collaborative and Primary Care Network clinical director, said: “We’ve got staff at the moment skipping meals.
“We’ve got staff going to foodbanks and we’ve got staff leaving the NHS and health and social care because they can’t afford to live on the wages that we’re paying.
“That’s an awful situation to be in.”
Dr Broughton added: “We can’t fix it, but we have to flag this is real.”
Cllr Coles said: “And we probably just need to start shouting about how terrible it is until somebody in a higher place than this can do something about it.”
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