WALTHAM FOREST: Health report highlights inequalities (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Health report highlights inequalities
IF you take the Central Line east from Notting Hill Gate to Leyton, for every stop on the line residents lose half a year on their life expectancy.
This afternoon NHS Waltham Forest launched its Annual Public Health Report which outlined the startling statistic.
By the time you get to Leyton, a man can expect to live for 76 years compared with 84 years further west and a woman for 81 years rather than the 90 years of her wealthier neighbour.
Dr Kay Eilbert outlined that while life expectancy is improving, along with survival and treatment rates for the biggest killers such as heart disease and some cancers, the gap between Waltham Forest and the rest of London and England in health inequalities is widening.
Dr Eilbert, acting director of public health for NHS Waltham Forest, compiled this year's seventh annual report and, speaking at The Epicentre in West Street, Leytonstone, she said the best way to improve life expectancy in the borough is not just to focus solely on medical issues.
She told an audience of 100 residents and health professionals that the NHS must work more closely with Waltham Forest Council to tackle the root causes of local health issues.
She said:"The answer is not just in the healthcare system.
"About 70 to 80 per cent of what creates help is outside of the healthcare service, it's about socio-economic factors.
"It's not just about personal responsibility. It's about creating an environment in which people can make healthier choices.
"A deprived mother who lives in a council flat and smokes may see smoking as a relief, so we need to decrease deprivation so people have more opportunities to have a fairer and healthier life."
She added: By the time people go to their GP, it’s often too late to do much more than help them manage their condition.
“We have to tackle issues around housing, the environment, education and jobs – all of which play a crucial part in how prone people are to disease and mortality.
“We have worked hard in recent years to address these inequalities, yet they not only still exist but are increasing.
“At a time when we have to make difficult choices, wouldn’t it be worth making these choices on the basis of what contributes to a fairer and healthier society?”
Under controversial new government plans for the NHS, public health teams will become more integrated with their local councils to try and address underlying environmental issues more effectively.
Ken Aswani, medical director of NHS Waltham Forest, said: "We are making progress.
"The death rate from heart disease and strokes is reducing. It is reducing everywhere but not quite as quickly in the borough."
Dr Eilbert said: "I can't moan about the level of money we are getting, through a very austere period of limited resources.
"We are going to have to do things smoother and more efficiently and on a larger scale."
She said the health trust will be assessing what practices have and have not worked in the past and the assessment will take until October.
Here are the stand-out figures from the report relating to the borough: * 39 per cent of children in Waltham Forest are affected by deprivation (live in families receiving means tested benefits), compared to 22.4 per cent in England.
* Deaths from smoking and early deaths from heart disease and stroke, is worse than the national average among adults, aged between 20-64.
* The number of over 65s "not in good health" is worse than the national average.
* The amount of physically active adults, aged between 20-64, is less than the national average.
* The amount of adults, aged between 20-64, suffering with drug misuse, diagnosed with diabetes and homeless is higher than the national average.
* Hip fractures among people aged 65 and over is higher than the national average.
* The level of dementia among people aged 65 and over is higher than the national average.
* The amount of obese adults, aged between 20-64, is less than the national average.
* The amount of binge drinking adults, aged between 20-64, is less than the national average.
* The amount of people over 65-years-old registered blind, or partially sighted, or registered as deaf or heard of hearing is less than the national average.
* Chingford has a higher number of hospital admissions due to alcohol compared to other parts of the borough. However, Chingford performs better than the national average for access to GP surgeries and has less deprivation than other parts of Waltham Forest.
* Statistics for identifying diabetes are better in Walthamstow than the national average and the ratio of hospital admissions for cancer and accidental falls is better in Walthamstow than the national average.
But Walthamstow has a higher proportion of people on benefits, children in poverty and incidence of crime compared to the north of the borough.
* Leyton and Leytonstone has lower male and female life expectancy figures, and higher deprivation levels than the national average and the north of the borough.
Leyton and Leytonstone does however compare favourably in terms of lifestyle as it has a modest number of smokers referred to stop smoking services and a moderate number of hospital admissions due to alcohol.
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