AS we celebrate 60 years of the National Health Service and all the good work that has been done in improving the health of our nation, it is important to recognise there are still many health inequalities across the country as a whole, and across our Borough.
I have been reading a report released recently that gives the health profile of the Borough, highlighting the health inequalities that exist locally. These inequalities do not seem to have narrowed much over the last ten years. In fact my constituency of Meriden is probably one of the most diverse in the country when it comes to such inequalities.
Overall the health of the people in the Borough is better that the average for England. However contrast that with some of my constituency in the north of the Borough which fall into the most deprived fifth of areas in the country.
When the most and least deprived area in Meriden are compared, life expectancy for men is 6.9 years less and for women 5.5 years less in the most deprived areas. This gender difference is not a new phenomenon, but is much wider in the more deprived areas that in other parts of the Borough.
The regeneration programme being implemented in North Solihull, which is the largest of its kind in the country, will provide more than just bricks and mortar. The goal is for it to go a long way to narrowing the health inequality gap by building capacity in the community, reducing unemployment and improving both the living and the working environment for the area.
Over the past ten years death rates from all causes, rates of early death from heart disease and stroke and from cancer have all fallen generally in parallel with average rates for England and overall are below the average rates.
Despite record investment in health over recent years, the deprivation gap still isn't being tackled effectively. There are no easy answers, but just throwing money at the problem does not appear to be working.