The NHSA is calling for an increase in health and social funding in the most deprived areas of the country, as shocking new findings on women’s life expectancy show the scale of health inequalities in England.
Recent analysis from the Health Foundation found that life expectancy for women living in the poorest 10% of areas in England is lower than overall life expectancy in almost any OECD country, except for Mexico.
Women in the poorest 10% of areas in England can expect to live on average 78.7 years – significantly below the average of 83.2 years for the whole of England. In the richest 10% of areas in England, the average life expectancy is 86.4% – higher than the overall life expectancy for almost every other OECD country, except Japan.
The Guardian exposed the scale of the problem in its recent article, which the NHSA was invited to comment on. Some of the most deprived areas in England include the local authority areas of Blackpool, Knowsley, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. Least deprived areas include Chiltern, Hampshire, Hart and Rutland.
Our Health Inequalities Lead, Hannah Davies, commented: “Inequalities between the richest and poorest in England are morally and economically unacceptable and the devastating impact they’re having on the poorest women is shown here clearly.
“Deprivation is driving the entrenched and widening inequalities in our country and the impact of austerity measures and local government cuts have had a disproportionate effect on the most deprived areas, predominantly in the North of England.
“Tackling the causes of deprivation is best for everyone across society, particularly with the cost of living crisis and impact of the pandemic. People are increasingly having to go without the resources needed for good health, such as secure, well-paid jobs, good food, housing and a healthy environment, and being driven further into poverty.
“If the government is to achieve its healthy life expectancy goals, it cannot ignore deprivation in the UK and must invest in helping those worst affected by the cost of living crisis through significant, funded support.
“To level up health inequalities, we need to see a move away from the focus on personal choice and create the social and economic environment to enable the hardest hit areas to recover. This means targeted government investment, including an increase in health and social care funding for our most deprived local areas.”
The Health Foundation’s analysis comes as the government is due to publish a white paper on health disparities, in the coming months. A pledge to increase healthy life expectancy by five years and reduce the gap between the healthiest and least healthy local authorities was announced earlier this year as part of the levelling up agenda.
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