How difference in life expectancy in Hartlepool can be 12 years within just one mile

Lifestyle choices are leading to big differences in living age in different areas of the town.
Lifestyle choices are leading to big differences in living age in different areas of the town.

There have been calls for more to be done to tackle large gaps in people’s life expectancy in Hartlepool because of how wealthy or poor they are.

A man living in the least deprived part of town can expect to live almost 12 years longer than someone a high area of poverty.

Councillor Stephen Thomas says a joined up approach is needed.

Councillor Stephen Thomas says a joined up approach is needed.

One Hartlepool councillor described the situation as worrying and unacceptable, adding it has not improved in eight years.

Dr Peter Brambleby, Hartlepool’s interim director of health, said the life expectancy gap linked to wealth is 11.9 years for men and 10.9 years for women.

Councillor Stephen Thomas, who represents De Bruce ward, told a meeting of Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board: “By just say walking a mile in Hartlepool you can go from an area where there is maybe an extra 12 years of life expectancy and that really does concern and worry me.

“I have been a councillor on and off now for about eight years and I haven’t seen much change within those statistics, and in some instances those statistics seem to be getting worse.

“Certainly with regards to male life expectancy there’s actually been falls in some parts of Hartlepool.”

He said it was a massive, deep rooted challenge adding: “We really do need to start making some progress. Certainly, those figures are unacceptable.”

Coun Thomas said there needed to be joined up working between health professionals, the local authority, community groups and schools to get across healthy messages to improve people’s chances.

Dr Brambleby said Hartlepool’s gap was not as great as some cities such as Manchester and Glasgow.

He said: “Nonetheless it does show that there is quite a long way to go in reducing inappropriate, avoidable inequalities in people’s life chances within Hartlepool.”

Dr Brambleby said while heart disease had come down by half over the last 10 years, the gaps were being driven by smoking related cancers, alcohol related liver disease and diabetes linked to weight.

He said there was an argument for doctors to show more ‘tough love’ and for people to take greater ownership of their own health.

“This is lifestyle and that’s where we’ve got to change attitude,” he said. “It’s completely unacceptable, they should have just as long as everyone else.”

In Rural West ward the life expectancy for men was 81 compared to 74.1 in Manor House according to official figures for 2011-2015.