Poverty gap in Hartlepool sees men dying 11 years earlier

Smoking. File picture.

Smoking. File picture.

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Men die more than 11 years earlier in the most deprived parts of Hartlepool compared to those in the wealthiest areas.

The gap in life expectancy is 11.3 years between the richest and poorest people in town.

Hartlepool Director of Public Health Louise Wallace.

Hartlepool Director of Public Health Louise Wallace.

For women, those in the least deprived areas can expect to live just over seven years longer than those in the poorest parts.

The average life expectancy in the town for men is 77.8, while for women it is 81.6.

Cancer and circulatory disease are said to be the biggest contributors to the gap in life expectancies resulting in 341 premature deaths across Hartlepool between 2011 and 2013.

The health picture for Hartlepool in 2015 was presented to councillors by Louise Wallace, director of public health at Hartlepool Borough Council.

She said: “Some areas have life expectancies 11 to 12 years difference to other parts of the town yet geographically we are very condensed and that is to be challenged.

“We are one of the most deprived areas in the country and child poverty statistics show about 30% of the children are living in child poverty.”

Cancer was the biggest condition that contributed towards premature deaths followed by circulatory and respiratory disorders.

Ms Wallace said smoking remained the single biggest preventable killer but said rates for the region had fallen to 20% compared to 50%-60% historically. But in some wards the rate is almost 50% she said.

Ms Wallace said despite Hartlepool being above the national average for many health inequalities, a good number are heading in the right direction including teenage pregnancies and cardio vascular disease despite rates still significantly above the national average.

She said it was important to support and educate people to change their lifestyles, educate children and improve awareness and early detection to help tackle the issue.

Ms Wallace added: “What can be done about it is all the efforts we are trying in public health around healthy lifestyles, so not smoking, following the chief medical officer’s recently reviewed guidelines on alcohol, trying to keep a healthy weight.

“All of those behavioural and lifestyle messages that we are trying to get across. There’s clearly a link between poverty and inequality.

“But we are heading in the right direction in terms of life expectancy. Slowly but surely things are getting better.”

All Hartlepool councillors are due to receive health profiles for their wards at tomorrow night’s Full Council meeting.