Derry still suffering poor health outcomes

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A new report underlining how poorer people and people in the North West are dying younger than the average citizen is a damning indictment of persistent inequality in our society, a local MLA has said.

SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan was speaking after the Department of Health’s ‘Health Inequalities- Life Expectancy Decomposition 2019’ highlighted how cancer and suicide were major contributors to the gaps in health outcomes between poorer people and their richer counterparts.

The report highlights how people living in the Western Trust were dying younger than the average citizen.

It follows the publication of related data in the spring that showed women from the poorest parts of Derry could expect to live to 78 years over the years 2015/17, 3.4 years less than the northern average.

Male life expectancy in Derry’s and Strabane’s poorest areas was 72.7 years in 2015/17, five years less than the NI average of 77.7.

Mr. Durkan said: “The Health Inequality Report released earlier this year highlighted that the Western Trust was among the most deprived areas in the region, with young men here in particular suffering a disproportionate number of health issues.

“This is not a series of unfortunate coincidences- the same statistics appear year after year in relation to deprivation and poor health West of the Bann. They are a direct consequence of the continued lack of investment, continued lack of opportunities and continued lack of adequate health provisions.

“The failures of the previous Executive to tackle poverty has had major implications for the population here and this report is evidence of their failure.

“These figures make a compelling and irrefutable case for more investment in mental health initiatives and an updated Cancer Strategy for the North of Ireland.”

Mr. Durkan said a creative and collaborative approach with meaningful interventions was needed to reverse the trend.