Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Taking years off your life – NI life expectancy deprivation gaps show increase over last decade

Fri 17 May 2013, 12:04pm

When I asked Billy Hutchinson on Wednesday about the lack of publicity around any PUP campaigning on health and life expectancy, I was thinking about the kind of life expectancy figures that have been released yesterday by the Department of Health in their Inequalities Monitoring System/Life Expectancy Decomposition comparative report:

Chapter 4 deals with the deprivation gap:

The male life expectancy deprivation gap was 4.5 years in 2008-10 which represents a 10% increase from 2001-03.

The female life expectancy gap in 2008-10 remains unchanged from its level in 2001-03 of 2.6 years.

Chapter 5 compares life expectancy between the 20% most and 20% least deprived areas:

The male deprivation gap was 7.6 years in 2008-10 which represented a 7% increase from 2001-03. Higher mortality in the most deprived areas for circulatory disease and cancer each accounted for approximately one quarter of the deprivation gap in 2008-10 while one-fifth was attributable to accidents and suicides.

In 2008-10, the female deprivation gap stood at 4.5 years which represented a 5% increase from 2001-03. Higher mortality in the most deprived areas for cancer and circulatory disease accounts for more than half of the deprivation gap.

The first NI Peace Monitoring Report brought the figures at that time to life by looking at the changing life expectancy as the Metro Number 8 bus drove out of the city centre and into South Belfast. Given that the latest report was comparing 2001-3 and 2008-10 statistics, the figures in the infographic may still be accurate.

bus route life expectancy - CRC's NI Peace Monitoring Report

Surely these are the issues the PUP and other parties like Sinn Fein that claim to have a working class background should be shouting about?

PS: I do wish the BBC would link to reports when they talk about them online.

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Comments (16)

  1. OneNI (profile) says:

    Health Inequality gaps are worst for people living in West Belfast.
    Who represents West Belfast?
    Didnt they hold the Health portflio for quite a while?
    #SinnFeinFail

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  2. Neil (profile) says:

    Didnt they hold the Health portflio for quite a while?

    In the grand scheme of things, no they didn’t. They held it for two and a half years, fifteen years ago. Since 2002 it’s been under direct rule or a Unionist.

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  3. Barnshee (profile) says:

    Whats all the fuss about — everyone stay on the bus until Finaghy and live to be 80+ –or what someone who knows SFA about Statistical analysis might suggest

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  4. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Would it be fatuous to factor the degree of alcohol and tobacco consumption into the various equations?

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  5. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Would it be fatuous to factor the degree of alcohol and tobacco consumption into the various equations?”

    Oh dear its the naughty step for you- people are “disadvantaged” Hhow dare you suggest they might be in some small ?? way responsible for the state they find themselves in

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  6. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Neil, from memory (if I have got this wrong will hold my hands up, can’t be bothered looking it up)

    at the last election I believe that the health portfolio was the last but one to be selected (eventually and reluctantly taken by the DUP). Sinn Fein had every opportunity to take the portfolio but, for example, preferred to take the sports portfolio over health. That speaks multitudes about where Sinn Fein’s priorities and manouvreing lie (and also the DUP who really didn’t want it either).

    I may genuinely be wrong, but doesn’t health take the biggest slice of the block grant? And again the power to use this money as effectively as possible completely shunned by Sinn Fein.

    Why?? any health cuts or difficult deceisions about a+e, care homes, mental health and suicide, waiting lists, Sinn Fein don’t want to be associated with. The party of protest, not of government when government is ‘too difficult’ or may portray in an unattractive light.

    No for SF promoting all-Ireland sports etc is much more comfortable when it comes to government.

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  7. Reader (profile) says:

    Barnshee: everyone stay on the bus until Finaghy and live to be 80+ –or what someone who knows SFA about Statistical analysis might suggest
    And if they walked to Finaghy and back every day they could live to be 90.

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  8. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    No-one at Westminster wants Health either. Poisoned chalice for an ageing (and obese) population.

    Yet we have an overbudgeted school system (in NI) with many thousands of empty desks.

    Schools are not integrated, but health is.

    Integrate schools and put the savings into healthcare.

    Am I missing anything here?

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  9. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    To add:
    Many schools are (pupil) underpopulated and overstaffed.
    Many hospitals are understaffed and (patient) overpopulated.
    This trend will continue for the forseeable future.

    Does anyone at the pathetic local assembly have the ability to do the maths?
    That’s not a real question, of course they don’t.

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  10. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Oh Lord help us another “post code lottery” non-scandal.

    Yes, people in area A have lower life-expectancies than people in area B, area A has more people called Jones than area B, therefore being called Jones lowers your life expectancy, s’obvious innit?

    So “deprivation” (and forgive me if as someone who lives in a third world country and sees real deprivation every day I snigger a bit at the idea that people in the UK are “deprived”) is the cause of lower life expectancies is it? It couldn’t be that so-called “deprivation” and lower life-expectancy are simply two symptoms of the same root cause, ie shockingly bad life choices?

    But no, at this point I will be howled down by the do-gooders telling me that I am “blaming” people for their own poor lifestyles.

    I know, let’s just firehose more tax-payers’ money at the problem I mean that has been such a success for the past half century hasn’t it?

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  11. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “In the grand scheme of things, no they didn’t. They held it for two and a half years, fifteen years ago. Since 2002 it’s been under direct rule or a Unionist.”

    During SF`s time I seem to remember an attempt to promote the use of Irish in the health service which cost £1m??– at the expense of clinical treatments -another ” good days work”?

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  12. tacapall (profile) says:

    “I know, let’s just firehose more tax-payers’ money at the problem I mean that has been such a success for the past half century hasn’t it”

    As far as I know Harry this state since its manufacture has always relied on the British subvention to keep it afloat. Lets not pretend its just been happening this past half century.

    Barnshee will we all just forget how much it costs the state annually clearing up after loyalist bonfires, repairing the damage done to public and private property caused by these annual bonfires or can we add on the policing costs of thousands of Orange order parades every year.

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  13. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    Tapacall I am making a general socio-economic point about “deprivation”, as it’s called, in the UK in general (indeed in the West) and not making a sectarian judgment of the areas specified on this post.

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  14. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Barnshee will we all just forget how much it costs the state annually clearing up after loyalist bonfires, repairing the damage done to public and private property caused by these annual bonfires or can we add on the policing costs of thousands of Orange order parades every year”

    er no tho compared to the billions PIRA cost the taxpayer its a mere bagatelle

    The answers are relatively simple

    1 Bonfire should be restricted to (contained) beacons Fire organisers should pay for any cleanup needed with cah up front prior if necessary (also see 2 below)
    2 Parade organisers and parade protesters should lodge a security deposit of a material sum (oh say £50,000) in cash or irrevocable bank guarantee prior to each parade/protest
    3 The “side” instigating trouble as identified by the police/parades commission forfeits their “deposit” it is then awarded to the “innocent side. No trouble and everyone keeps their money.

    A dam sight fewer parades even fewer “protests”

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  15. [N.B. The following was typed, but not posted, an hour back.]

    I’d have to suggest the way these figures are presented makes them as indigestible as possible.

    For me the Guardian’s version, comparing by health regions, is at least as telling. And what it tells is actually quite shocking: for men, only Orkney has a worse “improvement” than Belfast; for women Belfast, is worst — if only just.

    I cannot for the life [sic] of me see what bus-stops have to do with it. That’s only a PR-man’s translation of “N[orthern] I[reland] M[ultiple] D[eprivation] M[easure] Ward rank”. The official guide specifically says that NIMDM ranking:
    “is a relative measure of deprivation and so it cannot be used to determine how much more deprived one area is from another.”

    So, for once, I accept part of Harry Flashman‘s point.

    Why not specify the Ward (which involves where people live), rather than anything to do with the irrelevant Translink?

    We know that life-expectancy is a function of social class: that is well established. Just ask why housing- and working-conditions link to circulatory disease and cancer (which used also to be the case with killers like TB). So is the improvement in life-expectancy.

    Across the UK the best gains were achieved in Kensington and Chelsea, and in Westminster. What is questionable is whether that reflects decanting more vulnerable social classes (i.e should we be invoking changes in house-prices — as a correlating factor?). Or is it a matter of hearing the messages?

    I’m suggesting the main issue here is health-education. Health education is actually quite cheap: it is very cost-efficient compared to most other interventions. Clearly, NI’s health education is failing in comparison with all other parts of the UK. So, someone, somewhere is “responsible” (which, in my book, means “answerable”).

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  16. Reader (profile) says:

    Malcolm Redfellow: Or is it a matter of hearing the messages?
    Or is it a matter of listening to the messages? After all, who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t smoke; should go easy on alcohol, fat, sugar and salt; should try to eat some fruit and veg; and ought to get a bit of exercise? Personally, I fall far short of perfection, but every day I walk past loads of people doing worse.
    Malcolm Redfellow: So, someone, somewhere is “responsible” (which, in my book, means “answerable”).
    I am responsible; I am answerable. It is, after all, my life at stake.

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