Report finds cost-of-living crisis has 'biggest impact' on health and wellbeing in Jersey

PA IMAGES - Phone with energy bill on it and some change at the side, fuel pump and man in supermarket
Respondents emphasised the stress of dealing with ever-increasing costs. Credit: ITV Channel

The cost-of-living crisis is having the biggest impact on the health and wellbeing of people in Jersey, according to a new report.

The first Jersey Director of Public Health report highlights what is causing the mental and physical wellbeing of people in the island to suffer.

Data gathered from participants in the island's Big Health and Wellbeing Conversation shows how ever-increasing costs, as well as work and stress, are putting pressure on islanders.

During 40 in-person sessions with a range of people, from children to parents to carers, concerns were raised over the state of the island's public services and facilities.

Jersey’s Director of Public Health, Professor Peter Bradley, released the report. Credit: ITV Channel

Many islanders said poor healthcare, dental care and mental health services were having a detrimental impact on their wellbeing.

One respondent said someone they knew "couldn't afford the doctors" because the cost was too high. That person "passed away 10 days ago."

Some respondents reported feeling lonely as a result of a lack of leisure activities available in Jersey.

The report highlights how many people want the government to reduce income tax and remove GST on food, which they believe would relieve some of the pressures they are facing.

Whilst eating healthily was raised as one of the ways to improve wellbeing, many people said they could not afford to buy healthy food.

One islander said: "Cheaper food is not the same quality but I have to buy it anyway. You just buy processed food because it is the cheaper alternative."

Respondents also called on the government to reduce the cost of gyms and to improve facilities in the east of the island.

Concerns were raised over the work-life balance in Jersey, and many people suggested that the government should introduce more flexible-working measures.

The report found that the majority of younger islanders were more aware of the impact unhealthy habits would have on their lives, whilst older people often said they were happy to continue smoking and drinking despite health concerns.

The report forms part of the consultation work that will support the development of Jersey's Public Health Strategy, which is due to be debated this year.