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Scale of public health problems emerges

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Councils in the north west, the midlands and inner London are facing some of the toughest public health problems, according to LGC’s analysis of official figures.

Councils in the north west, the midlands and inner London are facing some of the toughest public health problems, according to LGC’s analysis of official figures.

The figures come from data published this week by the Department of Health which includes more than 50 different measures of public health. These are the baseline measurements which will be used to check councils’ effectiveness in improving public health when they inherit the role from primary care trusts next April.

LGC’s analysis of four key measures - teenage pregnancy, childhood obesity, smoking and preventable deaths - has revealed the scale of the challenges some councils will face, as well as the huge variations in health problems across the country.

It showed that the rate of teenage pregnancies was more than 10 times higher in Haringey – at 64.7 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15-17 - than in Rutland, where the comparable figure is 6.2.

Other findings included:

  • Knowsley, Blackpool and Salford have the country’s highest numbers of smokers. Surrey, Redbridge and Wokingham have the lowest.
  • Between 2009 and 2011 there were more than twice as many preventable deaths in Manchester as in Wokingham. In Manchester there were 264 per 100,000 people, compared to just over 100 per 100,000 people in Wokingham.  Blackpool and Liverpool had the second and third highest numbers of preventable deaths.
  • Nottingham, Leicester and Derby have the highest levels of childhood obesity. Rutland, Richmond upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead have the lowest.

Nicola Close, chief executive of the Association of Directors of Public Health, told LGC the figures would help local authorities to set health and wellbeing strategies. “There are few surprises in the data, with the most deprived areas having the worst outcomes”, she said. “The important thing is to understand what is needed in each local authority to reduce inequality and improve the health of our population.”

The data can be viewed here and on the map below:

View Public health by local authority area in a full screen map

 

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