Sandwell UK Healthy City



Sandwell is a metropolitan borough which was formed in 1974, and is one of seven authorities that makes up the West Midlands conurbation. The Sandwell Borough comprises of 6 towns – Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich.

Sandwell has a population of 309,000 (June 2011 Estimate). Sandwell is an ethnically diverse borough, in the ten years between 2001 and 2011, the White British population decreased from 78% to 65.8%. The White 'Other' category, (excluding Irish) has increased by 78% to 10,463. The Asian groups, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Other Asian, account for 19.2% of the population.

Sandwell has an area of 8,600ha and is at the centre of both the motorway network and local conurbation, meaning there is heavy traffic crossing the borough. Sandwell has the highest proportion of its area given to parks and open spaces of any of the West Midlands Metropolitan Districts: 15.2% compared to an average of 10.6% in the West Midlands county area. Sandwell’s open space is concentrated in the Sandwell Valley and Rowley Hills

Famed for its coalfields and heavy industry, Sandwell has always been a place of innovation and invention. The first modern factory in the world, Matthew Boulton and James Watt's Soho Foundry, was built in Sandwell. With the decline in manufacturing and heavy industry Sandwell experienced a significant change in fortune. Unemployment increased and the area suffered from increasing deprivation. Sandwell is now the 12th most deprived local authority in England. This deprivation is widespread and fairly uniform with the most disadvantaged areas within the borough tending to follow the industrial belt and canals, running from the northwest to the southeast.

More detailed information about Sandwell, along with briefing notes and themed topic pages can be found on Sandwell Trends.

Health and Wellbeing in Sandwell

Life expectancy in Sandwell is 75.5 years for men and 80.8 for women, compared to the national figures of 78.6 and 82.6 years respectively. The gap between Sandwell and the England average has remained fairly stable for women but for men it has widened between 2000 and 2010. Since 2008 male life expectancy in Sandwell has increased faster than the national average, it is likely that this is associated with a focused programme of early identification and treatment of heart disease in primary care.

Over the last 10 years, early death rates from cancer and from heart disease and stroke have fallen but the rates for Sandwell remain worse than the England average.

About 25.9% of Year 6 children are classified as obese; this is higher than the average for England. Levels of hospital stays among those under 18, breast feeding rates, teenage pregnancy, GCSE attainment, alcohol-specific initiation and smoking in pregnancy are worse than the England average.

By 2030 the number people in Sandwell over 65 years of age who experience dementia is predicted to increase by 42%

Key Achievements

Sandwell has a long history of successful partnership working across health, local authority, local communities and a wide range of other stakeholders. Building on these relationships the new Health and Wellbeing Board has published an initial Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy based on the six objectives set out in the Marmot Review of Health Inequalities, with an additional local objective to ensure the needs of older people and people needing end of life care are fully represented. Tackling the social determinants of health is central to this strategy and it has been included on the Institute of Health Equity website as an example of best practice. More information, including links to the JSNA and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy can be found on the Health and Wellbeing Board webpage.

Link to  - Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Information

Sandwell has made real progress in improving educational attainment. A greater proportion of pupils in Sandwell achieved 5 or more A*-C grades in 2011/12 than was the case nationally with Sandwell exceeding the national figure by 2.4%. There has also been significant improvement in the proportion of pupils who gained 5 or more A* to C GCSEs including English and maths. In 2007/08 this was 32%, by 2011/12 this had increased to 54%. This reduced the gap between Sandwell and national levels from 17% to 5%.

Concerted joint work across agencies and with local communities has resulted in a 33.3% decrease in teenage conceptions since 1998. In achieving this Sandwell has matched the improvements nationally and across the West Midlands.

Tobacco use remains one of the most significant public health challenges in Sandwell. Through an innovative payment by results approach the number of people helped to quit tobacco has increased and in 2011/12 this exceeded the targets set for the number of smoking quitters in Sandwell.

Through investment of over £250 million pounds since 2006, Sandwell has been successful in bringing 29,000 local authority owned homes up to the ‘Decent Homes’ standard.

Sandwell established the Sandwell Healthy Urban Development Unit in 2009 to join up work across health, local authority planning services and other stakeholders that have influence over the wider determinants of health. This work is nationally recognised as good practice. Building on this work Sandwell also coordinates a West Midlands healthy urban planning group which shares learning and experience across a wide range of different organisations. This group has produced comprehensive joint responses to both local and national consultations including the national planning policy framework and the West Midlands Local Transport Plan 3.

Sandwell’s Healthy City Story

Sandwell joined the UK Healthy Cities Network in December 2012.

Sandwell hosts the West Midlands Learning for Public Health Network, a partnership group with representation from councils, public health, NHS, further education and the voluntary and community sectors. The learning from membership of the UK Healthy Cities Network will be shared across this network.

Sandwell is a member of the UK Healthy Cities Network Planning for Health sub-group.

Future Plans and Activities

Within the framework set out in the initial Joint Health and Wellbeing strategy the focus for the Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board for the next two years is on tackling four key priority areas.

•    Early years and adolescent health
•    Long term conditions and integration of care
•    Frail elderly and dementia
•    Alcohol

Within each of these priorities the partner agencies are looking at where they need to work together and how they can best align and integrate services for the people of Sandwell. The approaches being developed to tackle each of these four priorities recognise the importance of the social determinants of health in improving health and reducing health inequalities.


The UK Healthy Cities Network is an accredited member of the WHO European Healthy Cities Programme

Searching For Cases

Searcing For Results