Indicators for Health Inequality

You might have woken up like me to hear that:

Nearly half of all children in England are not reaching what teachers say is a good level of development by the age of five.

Which comes from data produced today by the London Health Observatory and the Marmot Review Team, which is a little wider than the headline.  They also look at average life expectancy, the percentage of young people not in education, employment and training, and how many people are in receipt of means tested benefits too.

They break this down to local authority level and as you’ll see in the slides I’ve produced below Lewisham’s challenge in tackling health inequalities is substantial.

Just to note, the inequality within Lewisham (as measured by the indicators around inequality in life expectancy, inequality in disability-free life expectancy, and inequality in percentage in receipt of means-tested benefits) seems to be less of an issue than it is regionally or nationally.

The question will be whether the Public Health Service when it emerges in a few years time will be able to make progress on tackling these issues.

They will certainly find that some of the levers that have been there in the past may have disappeared.  For example, the Education Bill that is currently going through Parliament removes the duty of schools to cooperate with the local authority; leaving up to schools to decide whether or not to do so.

Similarly, the impact of reducing the levels of funding for services that support the most vulnerable will without doubt make it difficult to have a positive effect on these figures.


About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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3 Responses to Indicators for Health Inequality

  1. Clare says:

    Unfortunately the lower inequality just seems to mean everyone is worse off.

    The results on children’s development just make cutting Children’s Centres and libraries seem even more ludicrous.

  2. Andrew Brown says:

    I have a memory of a presentation that I saw Barry Quirk do about the state of Lewisham in which he showed us data that suggests we live in a borough where roughly equal proportions have degrees as no qualifications. But admittedly that’s now 5 years or so ago.

    In terms of cuts to services I think there aren’t any easy cuts, other than the ones that are in Eric Pickles head. Essentially there seem to be a very small number of visible strategies being applied by authorities that have the scale of cuts that Lewisham are being forced to make and the vulnerable services are: street sweeping and repair, libraries, children’s centres, youth services, and the supporting people services.

    I also know that less visible services, support for schools and drug treatment for example are either being told they have to be self financing or have to ratchet up the threshold at which they offer services.

    None of which sits easy, and most of which is a deliberate consequence of the government’s financial strategy.

  3. I think it’s pretty much all as a consequence of the Govt’s strategy, which itself is completely ideological, despite what they say.

    I could cry every time I hear them trying to blame the deficit. It’s just an excuse. 😦

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