Reports find that life expectancy among the women who are living in the poorest communities in England has declined since 2011. There is a warning of growing healthcare inequalities.
It is for the first time in 100 years that overall women’s life expectancy growth has declined over the past decade. The largest declines were observed in the poorest regions of north-east England while the huge increases were observed in the richest communities of London.
The report on the health inequalities by one of the leading expert, Prof Sir Michael Marmot comes after a decade of his first published data on the growing gap between rich and poor in England.
The report from the Institute of Health Equity demonstrates the growing healthcare inequalities and deteriorating health. The report highlights the social and economic conditions which have demonstrated the increased inequalities.
Marmot said that similar trends can be observed across the United Kingdom, where the decline in life expectancy is comparatively more obvious than in other European and high-income countries, other than the United States.
The report says that the government should adopt measures and tackle such health inequalities on urgent basis and level up the deprived regions in the north to the level of good health as in the south.
The follow-up report highlights:
- Declining life expectancy for both men and women in England since 2010
- The poorer the area, the shorter the human life expectancy
- Among women living in the poorest 10% of regions, life expectancies fell between 2010-12 and 2016-18
- People living in deprived areas spend more of their lives in ill health as compared to those living in the affluent areas.
- The time period people spend in poor health has increased across England since 2010 those regions more.
- Cuts in funding in poorest regions and areas outside London were huge and affected those regions more.
The health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth described this report as the devastating verdict on a decade of austerity under the Conservative and demand urgent action by the prime minister.
In some of the cities, like Coventry, many projects have been set up to bring the change, such as the support group for BAME mums and helping centre for people to provide them working opportunities and advising them about CVs and application forms.
The reports say that some local communities and authorities have been doing good at tackling these issues, and the government needs to build on such successful examples.
The other recommendations include:
- Developing a strategy on the national level for reducing health inequalities, led by the prime minister
- Early intervention for children to reduce child poverty
- Reducing less-paid and insecure work
- Ensuring a healthy living standard for all
- Investing more in ignored and deprived regions.
The chief executive of the Health Foundation, Dr Jennifer Dixon commented that the evidence is clear and the solutions are also there, all needed is the will to act. She said that areas like child poverty, Sure Start Children’s centres need immediate investment.
The chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Shirley Cramer CBE said that if the government wants to show this can walk the talk on levelling up the areas and groups that have been ignored and left behind. It should begin by paying more than just lip service to the realities of the entrenched healthcare inequalities across the United Kingdom.