Experts tackle deprivation deaths

PEOPLE in more deprived areas of Ipswich have been helping health experts pinpoint ways of reducing health inequalities in Ipswich.An ongoing study of health inequalities in the county revealed Ipswich Town and Bridge Wards to have some of the highest death rates of the under 75's.

PEOPLE in more deprived areas of Ipswich have been helping health experts pinpoint ways of reducing health inequalities in Ipswich.

An ongoing study of health inequalities in the county revealed Ipswich Town and Bridge Wards to have some of the highest death rates of the under 75's.

Results of the second phase of the study, looking into how to tackle the problem were presented to the board of Ipswich Primary Care Trust.

Following the presentation Councillor Harold Mangar who sits on the board presented a petition to the Trust from residents of Stoke Bridge who are trying to get a one-stop shop with doctors and pharmacists under one roof in the area.


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Dr Brian Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk and specialist registrar Dr Louise Smith have both been working on the project in a bid to find ways of reducing health inequalities in the two wards.

Dr Keeble told the board that although death rates had fallen across the county in the last decade, they had actually increased in the Town and Bridge wards, widening the equality gap.

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The increase in deaths came in people aged between 45 and 74.

Dr Keeble said: "These were down to particular diseases such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases.

"These are related to a variety of lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and exercise."

But Dr Keeble said it was not just down to the NHS to solve the problems, it needed local Government to get involved and help change the reasons why people had certain lifestyles.

After talking to people living in the area it was revealed that housing, crime, unemployment and poverty were the main areas that needed to be tackled as these were the reasons leading to their lifestyles.

As a result of the project, One Ipswich the local strategic partnership made up of several organisations such as Ipswich Borough Council and the PCT is to look into problems surrounding housing and fuel poverty, putting in more street lights and more community developments to help prevent crime as well as looking at unemployment and poverty.

Dr Smith said: "People did not talk about health services at all.

"Local authority housing was well thought of and well received but people did not think there was enough and so were being moved into the private sector." In the private sector Dr Smith said that people were often exposed to poor conditions such as lack of heating or double glazing which could then lead to health problems, therefore fuel poverty was something that needed to be tackled.

Health promotions were also discussed and it was found that traditional methods of dealing with health problems such as getting people to stop smoking or lose weight were not effective.

The study found that national and local policies are needed to help people change their behaviour rather than just cutting something out of their lives.

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