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Nottinghamshire director of public health said that there is a big disparity in medically-avoidable deaths across parts of Nottinghamshire

There are huge disparities in the number of avoidable deaths due to ill-health in parts of Nottinghamshire, the director of public health in the county says.

Between 2015 and 2019 there were 8,620 deaths in Nottinghamshire which experts would class as avoidable – meaning they involved ill-health which could have been solved by the right medical treatment.

This marks a rate of 23 deaths per 10,000 people per year, the director of Public Health Jonathan Gribbin said.

County Hall in West Bridgford, headquarters of Nottinghamshire County Council.
County Hall in West Bridgford, headquarters of Nottinghamshire County Council.

He added residents are more likely to die from an avoidable condition if they live in Worksop as opposed to in Rushcliffe.

The issue was discussed at an Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee meeting on December 4.

Mr Gribbin said avoidable deaths are often due to cancer, circulatory disease, obesity, chest disease, and alcohol and drug-related disease.

He said: “Avoidable deaths are deaths that can be prevented or avoided by treatment.

“The distribution of that across the county varies enormously.

“In Rushcliffe, it is as low as nine avoidable deaths per 10,000 people. In Worksop, it is as high as 55 per 10,000 people.

“You can see the disparities which are well rehearsed here.

“Some of them we might badge up as behavioural risks, such as use of tobacco, poor diet, physical activity and so on.

“The causes behind some of those include social isolation and lack of social support.”

Cllr Reg Adair said: “What’s preventing you from getting on with it and delivering on it?”

Mr Gribbin replied: “We have been getting on with it.

“There’s brilliant work that we’re doing, for example around the healthy families programme where we achieve a high level of performance.

“One of the things that prevents us is we don’t have visibility over the resources provided to the council beyond next year.

“It is very difficult to plan long-term, sustainable high impact public health interventions when you only know what the grant is going to be a year ahead.”

Cllr Paul Henshaw said: “We know that smoking is bad for everybody and people need to do more exercise and reduce their intake of alcohol.

“But yet again we have a situation where healthy life expectancy is diminishing.

“People in the most disadvantaged areas live eight years shorter than people in the most advantaged areas.

“You can have all the levelling up money in the world but if it isn’t going to deprived communities this trend will continue.”

Cllr Roger Jackson said: “I was listening to a programme this morning where they said obesity will overtake cancer as a cause of death in the next 10 years.

“Prevention is always better than cure but it’s getting that message out there.”

Dr John Doddy said: “You could spend a whole day discussing this topic and still not satisfy everyone’s interest.

“Obesity is the big killer going forward. It’s apparently obesity which is going to stop us living to 100 over the next couple of years.”

County council documents stated: “Currently we know that the lives of people in our most disadvantaged areas are, on average, more than 8 years shorter than people in our most advantaged areas.

“As well as living lives which are shorter, they will also spend 14 years more living in poor health.

“Some members of our population are particularly affected. Women in our most disadvantaged communities can expect to live on average one third of their lives in poor health and the trend for all women in Nottinghamshire has deteriorated since 2012.

“This points to the fact that for some communities in Nottinghamshire, the building blocks are weak or missing.”

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