By Ian Dipple Friday 20 September 2013 Updated: 20/09 08:53
REDDITCH should get a greater share of health funding because it has the largest areas of deprivation across the county.
Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group, said there was a clear link between deprivation and physical and mental health problems and that should be a critical factor in deciding where health services should be located and where money is invested.
According to the latest health profile more than 20,000 people in Redditch live in neighbourhoods classed as among the most deprived.
Parts of Winyates, Woodrow, Church Hill and Batchley are amongst the ten per cent most deprived areas in England.
The vast scale of deprivation across the borough results in numerous health inequalities resulting in people in the wealthiest parts of Redditch living up to nine years longer than those in the poorest districts. In 2009 the audit commission issued Redditch with a red flag for life expectancy as the borough was falling way behind the rest of the county.
Redditch also has the highest prevalence of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in the county with over 6,000 people with the condition - 25 per cent higher than Malvern which has the lowest.
Over 7,000 people have diabetes, more than 900 ten and 11-year-olds are classed as obese along with over 28 per cent of the borough’s adults - some 15,645 people. The prevalence of stroke, asthma and high blood pressure are all higher than the national average. Deprivation is also known to impact negatively on people’s mental wellbeing.
The borough also has the fastest rising population in the county and over the last ten years the elderly population in Redditch increased by a quarter and is projected to rise by almost 38 per cent by 2025.
Dr Wells told a meeting of the Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board in their four key priority areas - obesity, alcoholism, mental health and older people and wellbeing - the problem in Redditch was worse than the rest of the county.
“Our four priorities are all very much related to and tied up with deprivation,” he said.
“It is very important that healthcare resource is targeted towards those areas with high levels of deprivation and healthcare resources, unless unavoidable, must not be withdrawn from those areas.”
Dr Richard Harling, the county council’s director of adult services and health, said the split of NHS budgets following the reorganisation in April had created complexities to be worked through but the way healthcare funding would be allocated to clinical commissioning groups in future would take deprivation into account.
“So the more deprived areas would have more money to spend on healthcare,” he said.
Lesley Murphy, director of NHS England in Worcestershire, added: “That is the expectation in time. How long it takes to get to a fairer share is the challenge.”
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