Poorer Derry men dying 5 years younger with far higher rates of alcohol admissions and drugs deaths

Poorer Derry men can expect to die five years earlier than their better-off fellow citizens, according to a new Department of Health report.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:33 pm

Meanwhile, women from poorer areas will live 2.9 years less than the Derry & Strabane average.

The figures are contained in DoH’s ‘Health Inequalities Annual Report 2021’ which shows deprivation-related inequality is getting worse.

The study also reveals that rates of drug-related death and alcohol-related hospitalisation are far higher in poorer districts.

SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan says much more needs to be done to address structural health inequalities that are most marked in Derry and Strabane.

“Year on year, the Derry & Strabane Council area tops the tables for worsening health inequalities in the Department of Health’s annual report,” he said.

“The report illustrates the clear link between deprivation and poor health. It cannot go unchallenged. It is incredible in a place as small as NI that there are such disparities between and within Council areas.”

The report shows that male life expectancy in Derry and Strabane’s most deprived areas was 72.5 years - 5.3 years less than the district average (77.8 years). The male inequality gap in Derry and Strabane is also widening.

Female life expectancy in Derry and Strabane’s poorest areas was 78.5 years - 2.9 years less than the district average (81.4 years). There was no change in the extent of the female inequality gap.

Alarmingly, the alcohol-related admission rate in Derry & Strabane’s most deprived areas was almost two and a half times (139%) the district average.

Among the report’s key findings are that the abuse of drugs is much more of a problem in poor areas of Derry and the Western Trust.

It states: “Drug related mortality was the largest inequality gap in two of the five HSC Trusts and five of the eleven LGDs. In the Western Trust, the rate in its most deprived areas was more than two and a half times (162%) that of the Trust average.”

Equally, alcohol abuse is more likely to be problematic in pockets of deprivation locally.

The report continues: “Large inequality gaps for alcohol related admissions also exist in the majority of Trusts and LGDs. In the Western Trust, the rate in its most deprived areas was more than double (128%) that of the Trust average. While in the Derry City & Strabane LGD the rate in the most deprived areas was almost two and half times (139%) the LGD average.

“Deaths due to drug misuse was the largest inequality gap in the Northern (153%) and Western Trusts (177%).”

You’re also more likely to be obese and suffer from ill health if you are from a poorer part of the city.

Mr. Durkan said the situations is unacceptable and is, unfortunately, likely to have worsened as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown measures it precipitated.

“Derry and Strabane had among the worst health outcomes for alcohol specific mortalities, with rates four times greater in the most deprived areas. Likewise, the area displayed the highest numbers of Primary 1 Obesity,” he stated.

Mr. Durkan said the drink and drugs data underscored the critical need for a detox centre in the North West.

“Clearly there has not been sufficient focus on bridging these gaps and ensuring better health outcomes.”