New website comparing early death rates in Leeds

People in Leeds can view local statistics offering an insight into how rates for premature deaths from major diseases compare across England as a new website is launched.

Longer Lives, launched by Public Health England today, is intended to allow people and local authorities to see statistics on early deaths from heart disease and stroke, cancer, lung and liver disease.

These conditions account for 79% of all premature deaths in Leeds and people can also look into how these vary across the country and compare areas with similar populations, incomes and levels of health.

However, while noting the intention to make information more accessible in order to help tackle the most challenging health issues, Leeds City Council is also calling for more up-to-date information to be made available.

Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City’s Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing said:

“The data published by Public Health England is historic and shows the situation we as a council are inheriting as we take over local responsibility for public health from the NHS. We are well aware of this overall snapshot of the city’s health and the work already done on reducing mortality rates.

“For these serious health conditions Leeds is comparatively low in these rankings, especially for a big city. However, we remain deeply concerned about tackling long-seated health inequalities across the city and why some people are dying prematurely compared to others.

“This is why improving the health of the poorest people in our communities is top of the priorities outlined in the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy we have just published. Public health is best-placed in local authorities so we can tackle entrenched health inequalities and the socio-economic deprivation that they mirror.”

As an example of the approach the new board is taking, it has highlighted cardiovascular disease (CVD) as one of the main areas it wants to tackle. The priority within the strategy is to ensure people in Leeds have equal access to screening and prevention services.

Work has been under way since 2009 to ensure people in Leeds take the NHS Health Check, a vascular risk assessment for all those between the ages of 40 and 74. It was initially targeted only in the most deprived areas of Leeds but now covering the whole of the population. Over 27,000 NHS Health Checks were completed in 2012/13 alone and 87,000 since 2009.

In 2011 a retrospective audit took place in Leeds into the premature deaths of over 800 people from CVD to inform future health planning. There was a gap of nearly nine years in the life expectancy of those who had a GP, compared to those who were not registered with a family doctor.

Deprivation was also shown to have a significant impact on when someone died. The priority for 2013/14 will be to ensure those living in the most deprived areas of Leeds have a high uptake of the NHS Health Check programme.

One big improvement over the past 10 years is the major reduction in the number of people who smoke, as 77% of adults in the city are now non-smokers. However, while there is still a significant number of people who smoke, the city will continue to experience unacceptable levels of preventable disease and premature death. This is why Leeds is addressing all aspects of tobacco control as a priority.

Significant progress has also been made on increasing the early diagnosis of lung cancer in the over-50s with a targeted approach in inner East and inner South Leeds.

Notes to editors:

To arrange interviews or for further information on the Leeds City Council/Health and Wellbeing Board perspective contact the Leeds City Council press office.

To view the Longer Lives website, go to http://longerlives.phe.org.uk/ and for further information on its launch contact Public Health England’s regional press office, Yorkshire and the Humber Centre, phone: 0113 386 0388 email: yorkshireandHumberPressoffi@phe.gov.uk or visit www.gov.uk/phe

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Communications Manager, Press & Media Relations

Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335

e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk