Inequality has led to poorer Derry women’s lifespans falling by four months, according to new data.
The newly-published ‘Health Inequalities Annual Report 2019’ shows women from the poorest parts of Derry could expect to live to 78 years over the years 2015/17.
They could thus expect to die 3.4 years earlier than the northern average. More tellingly their life expectancies fell from 78.3 years in 2014/16. In the space of a year women from poorer areas of Derry had four months slashed from their collective lifespans.
The report further demonstates male life expectancy in Derry and Strabane’s poorest areas was 72.7 years in 2015/17, five years less than the NI average of 77.7, but up, in fact, on the 72.5 years average for 2014/16.
And 29 health outcomes in Derry and Strabane were worse than the northern average, most notably alcohol related admissions, alcohol specific mortality and elective inpatient admissions.
SDLP health spokesperson Mark H. Durkan said: “It is clear that in the past six years, there has not been sufficient focus on bridging these gaps and ensuring better health outcomes.
”The blame for this, however, does not lie solely at the door of the Health Department.
“The previous DUP and Sinn Féin jointly led Executive failure to tackle poverty has 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 this area and meaningful interventions to create employment to deliver real opportunity, prosperity and improved health for our community.”
Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said: “While there has been a modest reduction in the gap between least and most deprived areas in terms of life expectancy, this report is a stark reminder of the persistence of health inequality in the north.
“The recent data shows that men and women in the most deprived areas are likely to live 7.1 years and 4.5 years respectively less than their counterparts in more affluent areas.
“For the most part the inequality gap between the most deprived and least deprived areas with regards to healthy life expectancy, and disability free life expectancy, has widened.
“The inequality gap in premature mortality among under 75’s due to respiratory disease has widened to 264 per cent. People in deprived areas continue to be more likely to face poorer health outcomes-and in many cases this is worsening.”