Monday, October 30, 2006

Lewisham’s health chasm reveals few gaps with neighbours
Life expectancy in the Lewisham wards of Evelyn, New Cross, Brockley, Ladywell, Lewisham Central, Forest Hill, Sydenham and Rushey Green is 74.8 years, significantly lower than the English average of 78.5 years. The Government says that the most deprived wards in the borough (and they almost mirror the previous ones) are Evelyn, New Cross, Brockley, Telegraph Hill, Lewisham Central, Bellingham and Downham.

True, it was reported that ten years ago Lewisham was the 14th most deprived in the country, and is now just the 52nd worst off. But should we be optimistic that things can only get better? Lewisham’s future is lumped with ten other boroughs in the Spearhead London region. The Spearhead Group is made up of 70 Local authorities and 88 Primary Care Trusts across the country, and is in the bottom fifth nationally for key health indicators like life expectancy at birth, cancer mortality, heart disease mortality rate etc.

It seems to me that considering we are sandwiched by fellow Spearhead boroughs like Greenwich, Southwark, Lambeth in the south and have another six to the north including Tower Hamlets and Newham, it will be hard to escape the demographic profile of inner London hardship that bedevils our poor health statistics. Considering how much money is wasted on the NHS, this is all the more reason to rethink how healthcare is delivered in this country…

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