A Matter of Life and Death

Stuart Weir, 2016 Jul 15
Inequality results in poorer Cambridge residents losing a decade of life
Inequality results in poorer Cambridge residents losing a decade of life

A Matter of Life and Death: The Cambridge Health Gap
Wednesday July 20th 7.30pm
Friends Meeting House
12 Jesus Lane
Cambridge
CB5 8BA

Please come along to the formal launch of our new report,  The Cambridge Health Gap. This  meeting is open and free to all.

Read the report here.

The report reveals devastatingly different outcomes in life expectancy in Cambridge – not just in terms of how long residents live, but also in lives lived free of physical illness and disability.  The gap in life expectancy between residents in the better-off and worst-off wards in the city is eleven years and more.

Worse still, far more people in the worst-off wards report that they experience poor and very poor health and they are ill or disabled far earlier in their lives:  for example, 90 per cent of 50-64 year olds in Newnham are in good health, but only 67 per cent of people in King’s Hedges are – a 23 per cent difference in health.

We have invited Tony Jewell, former Chief Medical Officer for Wales and previously director of public health in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk; former MP Julian Huppert, member of the Clinical Commissioning Group for Cambridge and Peterborough; and Stuart Tuckwood, nurse at Addenbrooke’s to address the meeting.  Julian Huppert will address questions of what the CCG, the prime NHS coordinating body, can do to improve health outcomes for the whole community.

The cause of inequalities in health is simple –  ingrained social and economic inequality harms the health of residents living in deprived areas of Cambridge and prematurely kills or cripples many of them.  Social and economic factors like income, work (or the lack of it), environment, education, housing, transport and what are today called “life-styles”, all affect health and favour the better-off who have greater access to tools and diets which enable them to live healthily.

Cambridge has grown rich on the proceeds of spectacular economic growth, but the gains have not been shared equally.  There has been no ‘trickle down’ in wealth and income.   But we all share in the bad effects of growth:  house prices and rents are beyond the reach of most residents, traffic congestion clogs the roads and poisons us all.

The report reviews national research findings nationally and inequality in Cambridge itself, examines the impact of government austerity policies and cuts, shrinking social care and public health education, reducing the stock of affordable public housing and leaving older homes unimproved, at a cost of “excess deaths” from fuel poverty.

Read the report here.