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North-South health divide remains

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There is still a north-south divide on health in England despite attempts to promote wellbeing for all, according to figures published today.

The overall picture of health is better in the South than it is in the North, according to the 42nd Regional Trends from the Office for National Statistics.

The northern regions (North East, North West and Yorkshire and The Humber) were at one end of the scale, where health experiences were generally poorer than average, but in the South (South East, South West, East of England and London) they were largely better than average, the report said.

The East Midlands and West Midlands appeared to be around the England average.

The North East, North West and Yorkshire and The Humber had lower life expectancy, and higher mortality rates from cancer, respiratory and circulatory diseases and “all causes” compared with the England average.

High levels of health in London were undermined by the problem of childhood obesity. A rate of 11.2% in reception class in 2008/09 was the highest, compared with lowest regions East of England and South East (both 8.7%).

A high proportion of drug use among 16 to 24 year olds in the South East went against the trend of good health in this region. The percentage of drug use in that age group (26%) was higher than London at 17% or the south west at 19%.

High levels of breast cancer diagnosis in the South West, 135 cases per 100,000 population in 2008, opposed the picture of good health in this region. The figure was higher than the England average (123 per 100,000 population) and all other regions.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Rather disappointing findings after 13 years of Labour Government, with many of its MPs from the North.

    Maybe the Coalition will do better.

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  • I know from experience about the treatment divide between the south and Humber. Two years down the line i am still waiting to get some pain relief from an old accident which became aggravated through two falls.I cannot fault my GP, but the hospitals pain clinic is useless, things have got to the stage that i am now unable to walk and can only stand for a very short period. I keep telling them the pain is different from prior to the falls, but its like talking to a brick wall.

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