Life expectancy fall for poorer Derry women

The lifespan of the average woman in the most deprived areas of Derry and Strabane has declined, new data released by the Department of Health reveal.

By Kevin Mullan
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 11:27 am
A Generic photo of nurse holding the hand of an elderly woman. See PA Feature HEALTH Alzheimers. Picture credit should read: iStock/PA. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature HEALTH Alzheimers.
A Generic photo of nurse holding the hand of an elderly woman. See PA Feature HEALTH Alzheimers. Picture credit should read: iStock/PA. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature HEALTH Alzheimers.

Female life expectancy in the local government district’s most deprived areas was 78.3 years, 2.9 years less than the LGD average (81.3 years).

The stark figures are contained in DoH’s annual ‘Health Inequalities’ report that shows poorer people in Derry and Strabane suffer worse morbidity and mortality outcomes than their better-off counterparts.

“Female life expectancy either increased or remained similar across the period in all Trusts and LGDs, and their most deprived areas.

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“The exception to this was the most deprived areas of the South Eastern Trust and the most deprived areas of the Antrim and Newtownabbey; Belfast; Derry City and Strabane and Fermanagh and Omagh LGDs where it declined,” the report states, referring to the difference recorded between the years 2012-14 and 2016-18.

Although female life expectancy declined, there was no change in the female inequality gap in the city and district.

For poorer men the equality gap was stark, however.

Male life expectancy in Derry and Strabane’s most deprived areas was 72.7 years, 5.3 years less than the LGD average (78.0 years).

“For male life expectancy, the inequality gap between the 20 per cent most deprived areas and the area average widened in Derry City and Strabane,” the report states.

In terms of sickness, alcohol related admissions showed the largest health inequality gap in Derry and Strabane LGD (145 per cent).

In other words the more deprived you were, the more likely you were to end up in hospital with an alcohol-related problem.

The report shows that a majority of health outcomes in Derry and Strabane were worse than the average in the north. Elsewhere in the north the only geographical areas to post similarly poor outcomes were the Belfast LGD and the Belfast Trust.

In Derry and Strabane, 25 health outcomes were worse than the northern average. Most notable of these were elective inpatient admissions, smaller babies for gestational age, alcohol specific mortality and alcohol related admissions.

However, it is not all bad news. Thirteen health outcomes were similar to the northern average and three health outcomes were better than the northern average, most notably, circulatory admissions and emergency care attendances.

In terms of changes in deprivation inequality gaps the most notable narrowed outcomes in Derry and Strabane were low birth weight, smoking during pregnancy and emergency care attendances.

The most notable widened deprivation inequality gaps were primary 1 obesity, male life expectancy at 65, lung cancer incidence and cancer incidence.

The report also includes data for the Western Trust area and shows that deaths due to drug misuse was the largest inequality gap seen in the Western Trust (172%).