Life expectancy falling for men and women in Hull, report reveals

Hull has had huge economic investment - but it has not trickled down to those who need it most Picture: Simon Hulme
Hull has had huge economic investment - but it has not trickled down to those who need it most Picture: Simon Hulme
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People living in Hull face spending more than a quarter of their lives in poor health, according to a new report.

While men and women in England can expect to live into their early 60s in good health, residents in the city have a far lower healthy life expectancy, lagging some five or six years behind.

The report also highlights that while nationally the figures for life expectancy are flattening off, for men and women in Hull they are falling, albeit only slightly.

While life expectancy was approaching 77 for a man in 2010, the most recent figures show it has since fallen to just under 76.

The annual report by director of public health Julia Weldon said the impact of years of ill health on individuals, family and society is “huge” and a “renewed focus” is needed to address the causes.

Although the city had enjoyed a period of economic growth, including £3bn investment in infrastructure, it had not trickled down to those who need it most.

The report highlights the strong correlation between deprivation and serious illness, with rates of death due to coronary heart disease, five times higher in the least affluent areas (101 per 100,000 individuals) compared to the most affluent (20 per 100,000 individuals).

Similarly dementia mortality rates, the second most common cause of death in Hull, are twice as high in the most deprived areas as the most affluent areas.

The dementia mortality rate was 1,203 per 100,000 people in 2017-18, a third higher than for England and a quarter higher than for the region. Rates have also increased by 71 per cent over the past six years - much higher than the 40 per cent rise for the region.

Further work is to be done to see whether it is the result of improved diagnosis - or whether are other factors at play.

The third most common cause of death - lung cancer - also follows the socioeconomic gradient and is higher in the most deprived communities.

The high death rate has been put down to late diagnosis - the majority only find out when the cancer is advanced.

In her conclusion Ms Weldon states: “Our data reminds us that in Hull the big killers are largely preventable conditions, and they are disproportionately impacting the most disadvantaged groups and communities.

“After many years of progression we are seeing a stalling of improvement in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy.”

She added: “We know that economic growth doesn’t trickle down to those who need it the most and we know that we have to work together as a whole community to create a fairer more inclusive Hull.”

Assistant director of health and well being Tim Fielding said: “The underlying story is one of inequality. This shows the very stark inequalities between Hull and the rest of the country and it shows the gap is increasing.”