North-south mortality divide is widest for 40 years16th February 2011
The chances of dying at an earlier age are now even higher in the north of England compared to the south of the country.
Findings published in the British Medical Journal have revealed that the likelihood of people dying before they reach 75 is a fifth higher in the north, putting the north-south mortality gap at its widest for four decades.
Researchers from the University of Manchester compared death rates from 1965 to 2008 with figures show that in 1965 people in the north were 16% more likely to die before their 75th birthdays than southerners but the figures had risen to over 20% by 2008 with men more likely to be affected.
Lead researcher Professor Iain Buchan said people in the south had greater access to resources.
“There is an overall concentration of resource in the South, the 'built environment' is very different, there's more access to education, transport and other large scale resources,” he said.
Behavioural differences were not a factor, added Professor Buchan.
“These differences are not because those in the north are not looking after themselves... this is because of social, economic and health care resources controlled by government. For example, there are fewer GPs in deprived areas,” he said.
The Department of Health said it was committed to reducing health inequalities with a ring-fenced public health budget, weighted towards the most deprived areas, to ensure resources are spent on preventative work, with incentives to improve the health of the poorest.
Public health expert Professor Alan Maryon-Davis said government cuts would worsen health inequalities.
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Title: North-south mortality divide is widest for 40 years
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 17582
Date Added: 16th Feb 2011