‘Left behind' neighbourhoods have the worst health outcomes

New research by the Northern Health Science Alliance has calculated that ill health n England’s most deprived neighbourhoods is costing an estimated £29.8 billion a year to the economy in lost productivity.

People in England’s most deprived neighbourhoods work longer hours than those in the rest of the country but live shorter lives with more years in ill health. People living in these communities were also 46 per cent more likely to die from coronavirus than those in the rest of England, according to the research.

The report shows the devastating impact of poor health for those living in deprived areas and left behind neighbourhoods and makes a number of recommendations to overcome the health inequalities faced by people living in these places.

Those living in local authorities that contain ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods have a further £2 billion gap in lost productivity compared to those areas with a similar rate of deprivation but with more civic assets, connectedness and an active and engaged community.

Typically located in post-industrial areas in the midlands and north of England, as well as coastal areas in the south east, the 225 neighbourhoods identified as ‘left behind’ rank within the top 10 per cent most deprived of the Index of Multiple Deprivation and the top 10 per cent of areas most in need as measured by the Community Needs Index, meaning they lack places and spaces to meet, digital connectivity and transport and an active and engaged community.

Hannah Davies, inequalities lead at the Norther Health Science Alliance, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed how important it is to tackle health inequalities in the most deprived parts of the country. The 46% increased Covid-19 mortality rate for people in these areas is unacceptable. This report demonstrates how essential it is that tackling health inequalities is placed at the heart of the country’s levelling up strategy.”

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