The average life expectancy for both men and women has increased by several years over the past decade, the Western Trust has revealed.
The figures for the west show that the figures are now more or less in line with the average across Northern Ireland.
Back in the period 2001- 2003, data showed that the average life expectancy for men across Derry, Limavady and the wider Trust area was 74.9 years of age. Fast forward a decade and that has now jumped to 78 years of age.
For women there is a similar increase from 79.8 years a decade ago to 82.3 years now.
The data is outlined in the Western Trust’s newly launched four-year Corporate Plan for 2017-2021.
Following an extensive engagement exercise with Western Trust staff and a formal public consultation, the new Corporate Plan has been approved by Trust Board and by the Department of Health.
The Western Trust currently serves a population of over 300,000 people, with the population is expected to increase over the next four years.
The report states: “In common with the rest of Northern Ireland we have a growing ageing population. There are currently 44,087 older people living within the Western Trust area which is 14 per cent of the Trust population compared to the Northern Ireland percentage of 16 per cent.
Projections for over the next seven years show that this is likely to jump by 24 per cent to 62,500 people aged 65 and over living locally.
Trust bosses in their new Corporate Plan said: “We nee to ensure that our planning addresses the needs of an ageing population across both rural and urban areas.”
At the other end of the age group spectrum, the Trust has the lowest per centage of children aged 0-15 (17 per cent) compared to other Trusts.
High levels of deprivation remains a major challenge locally, the report states, and is resulting in “lack of social support, low-self esteem, unhealthy lifestyle choices, risk taking behaviour and poor access to health information and quality services”.
The report also references further research for the Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure shows that more than one in five residents of Derry and Strabane are living in areas defined as deprived.
The Western Trust has said that despite the high levels of deprivation, “the population shows equivalent or better health outcomes than the Northern Ireland average, except for respiratory conditions, i.e. asthma and COPD.”
The Corporate Plan is the overarching strategic plan for the Western Trust and sets out the direction and priorities for the Trust over the next four years .
Launching the new plan, Western Health & Social Care Trust Chief Executive, Elaine Way said: “The Western Trust is committed to delivering the best care and outcomes for people who use our services.
“We believe that the people who use our services, our staff and our communities are best placed to tell us what is needed.”
The Corporate Plan can be accessed on the Western Health & Social Care Trust website via www.westerntrust.hscni.net/pdf/Corporate_Plan_201721.pdf.