Huge gap in life expectancy between rich and poor prompts £1m NHS funding
Piers Meyler, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Su Anderson
High suicide rates and huge differences in life expectancy have prompted the NHS to offer Colchester and Tendring councils more than £1million to tackle health inequalities.
Colchester Borough Council documents revealed the two districts have the second and third highest suicide rates of all second tier and unitary authorities in England.
The council report also revealed differences in life expectancy of nearly 10 years between Colchester’s richest and poorest areas.
Last week, Colchester’s Conservative-led cabinet voted to accept £1,029,000 in extra funding from North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEECCG) and East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).
Tendring District Council said in a statement that it had been offered £565,000 but has not yet formally decided whether to accept.
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A Colchester council agenda read: “Life expectancy is 8.6 years lower for men and 8.0 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Colchester than in the least deprived areas.
“Despite our overall middle-of-the-road standing in deprivation, Colchester has the third highest suicide rate among all second tier and unitary authorities in England.
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“In Tendring, our partner district in the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance, the situation is often worse.
"For example, Tendring includes the most deprived area in England and has England’s second highest suicide rate.
“Life expectancy is 10.6 years lower for men and 7.8 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Tendring than in the least deprived areas.”
Colchester Liberal Democrat leader Mark Cory said opposition parties welcomed the additional funding.
“Our officers have worked hard to break down barriers and build partnerships that improve the lives of our residents," he said.
“Joining forces with the NHS, we can really tackle inequalities and this NEE joint working gives us the best chance going forward to do things differently and to improve the wellbeing of future generations.
“It will save time, energy and money for the council and NHS, while improving services and outcomes for the people of Colchester Borough and Tendring District.
In Colchester, £464,000 will go towards the charity and voluntary sector.
A further £200,000 will go towards the Neighbourhood Integrated Care Service (NICS), £165,000 will go to the council’s Healthy Homes programme and £200,000 will go towards “wider work” on tackling inequalities.