The leader of Bradford council has responded to a new report on health inequality.
It is “shocking” that people in the richest parts of Bradford enjoy 21 years more good health than people in the poorest areas – according to the leader of Bradford Council.
Susan Hinchcliffe was commenting on a recent report, titled “Living well for longer” that looks at the health of the Bradford District.
The document, which highlights the stark inequalities seen in the District, was discussed by the Bradford and Airedale Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday.
The report shows that in the more affluent areas of the Bradford District such as Ilkley and Wharfedale there is a “healthy life expectancy” – the length of time someone will live in “good health”, of 71.
But in the most deprived areas, such as Tong, Manningham and Keighley Central, that figure plummets to just 50.
After this they are likely to suffer from health issues including diabetes, heart conditions and mental health issues.
Toni Williams, Consultant in Public Health, presented the report, and pointed out that fixing the issue was just as much about tackling poverty as it was tackling ill health.
She said: “I’d love to say there was a single policy that could change this, but it needs changes on a large scale, delivered over a long period of time.
“The fact that in the poorest areas of the district a person will only reach the age of 50 before their health declines is a sad statistic.
Councillor Hinchcliffe said: “A lot of this is about poverty. That is what it gets back to time and time again. We all have a part to play.”
She said the statistics weren’t necessarily new, but added: “They are still shocking no matter how many times you hear them. That 21 year gap is shocking, and it should spur us onto further action.
“We hear everyone nationally worry about targets like four hour waits in A&E, but people don’t seem to be worried about people in Bradford living through 21 years more ill health then people a few miles away.
“Maybe nationally we are measuring the wrong thing? Making sure people live healthy lives is really important.”
Chief Executive Kersten England said although there had been some improvements, the amount of time people were spending in poor health was worrying. She said: “We don’t seem to be any healthier than we were 30 years ago. I remember similar figures from the 90s. They were pretty stark then and they are pretty stark now.”
Bev Maybury, Strategic Director for Health & Wellbeing, said: “We have to find a way of investing in early health and prevention.”
The panel agreed that all different groups, Council, NHS and local organisations, all needed to work closer together to tackle the issue. This would include efforts to reduce poverty in Bradford as well as tackle health issues.