Map reveals 'shocking' variation in premature deaths

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the NHS and local councils must do more to tackle public health problems, after a map revealed 'shocking' variation in premature death rates.

Councils have been told to target smoking, diet and early diagnosis of disease to reduce early deaths
Councils have been told to target smoking, diet and early diagnosis of disease to reduce early deaths

The Longer Lives website from Public Health England uses a traffic light system to rank 150 councils in England on premature deaths from conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

It shows that people in the north-west of England are more than twice as likely to die before the age of 75 as those in the south.

The figures, for 2009 to 2011, show Wokingham had the lowest early death rate of 200.3 per 100,000 people. This compares with 455 per 100,000 in Manchester.

Click on the map to view in detail

The Longer Lives map: areas in red have higher premature death rates (Source: Public Health England)

The DH said the information would help local areas better target their efforts to improve public health.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'This shocking variation in early and unnecessary deaths means people’s lives are needlessly cut short, and that cannot continue unchecked.

'I want areas to use the data released today to identify local public health challenges like smoking, drinking and obesity and to take action to help achieve our ambition for saving 30,000 lives a year by 2020.

'Being more transparent will also allow professionals and the public to see how their local area is performing over time, allowing them to intervene and make improvements happen.'

In total, there were 456,342 premature deaths in England between 2009 and 2011. In 2011, one in three deaths in England was under the age of 75.

Local councils were handed responsibility for public health in the recent NHS reforms. CCGs will work with council's health and wellbeing boards to decide local priorities.

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