Overcoming health inequalities in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods

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Publication date

June 1, 2022


New report shows almost £30bn health cost of England’s most deprived communities

New research reveals that 'left behind' neighbourhoods have among the worst health outcomes in England.

People in England’s most deprived neighbourhoods work longer hours than those in the rest of the country but live shorter lives with more years in ill health costing an estimated £29.8bn a year to the economy in lost productivity.

People living in these communities were also 46% more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in the rest of England.

The findings, revealed in a joint report released today by the All-Parliamentary Party Group for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods and Northern Health Science Alliance, shows the devastating impact of poor health for those living in deprived areas and left behind neighbourhoods (LBNs) and makes a number of recommendations to overcome the health inequalities faced by people living in these places.

Those living in local authorities that contain ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods have a further £2bn gap in lost productivity compared to those areas with a similar rate of deprivation but with more civic assets, connectedness and an active and engaged community.

Across most measures people in these areas fair even worse than those in deprived neighbourhoods.

The report discovered:

1) People living in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods were 46% more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in the rest of England and 7% more likely to have died of the virus than those living in deprived non-LBN areas ;
2) In ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods men live 3.7 years fewer than average and women 3 years fewer. People in these neighbourhoods can both expect to live 7.5 fewer years in good health than their counterparts in the rest of England ;
3) People living in local authorities that contain ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods work more hours on average than those elsewhere in the country, at 36.9 hours a week, compared to 36.8 hours a week for those living in local authorities that contain deprived non-left-behind neighbourhoods ;
4) Tackling the health inequalities facing local authorities with ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods and bringing them up to England’s average could add an extra £29.8bn to the country’s economy each year.

Typically located in post-industrial areas in the midlands and north of England, as well as coastal areas in the south east, the 225 neighbourhoods identified as ‘left behind’ rank within the top 10 per cent most deprived of the Index of Multiple Deprivation and the top 10 per cent of areas most in need as measured by the Community Needs Index, meaning they lack places and spaces to meet, digital connectivity and transport and an active and engaged community.

While outcomes between the England average and both deprived areas and ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods was by far the widest, outcomes were frequently worse in areas that contain ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods than those in areas which were deprived but not ‘left behind’. This shows the importance of taking an ultra-local approach to solving health issues, to engaging the local community in its efforts and making sure there are adequate resources available to do this.






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