New report ‘a stark reminder of health inequality’ – Sheehan
The latest statistics, while showing some improvement, are still a stark reminder of health inequalities impacting on people in the North’s most deprived areas, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Pat Sheehan MLA has said.
Commenting after the Department of Health published the latest Health Inequalities Annual Report, the West Belfast MLA 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%.
"People in deprived areas continue to be more likely to face poorer health outcomes-and in many cases this is worsening.
"The report clearly shows that problems relating to alcohol and drug misuse, self-harm and smoking remain significantly worse in deprived areas.
"Health inequality not only means poorer outcomes for those in deprived areas it also means increased incidents and periods of illness which continue to put pressure on an already stretched health and social care system.
"But addressing health inequality needs to be done across all of society by addressing inequality as a whole.
"That means addressing inequality in housing, education and across the whole of society.”