Overall, life expectancy in Wakefield lags behind the national average. While it has improved at a reasonably steady rate, it has not particularly closed the gap with the national rate. This is particularly true in males and may even be widening when viewing the data across a longer time period. Gains were made in measures of life expectancy at age 65 during the early-to-mid 2000’s, but have seen a drop off more recently, with female measurements showing greater instability.
Life expectancy is 9.9 years lower for men and 7.2 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Wakefield than in the least deprived areas, using Slope Index methods amongst deciles (Health Profiles, 2011). These methods differ slightly from the data presented above, as they adjust for extreme differences across the area.
What’s the local picture and how do we compare?
How do we compare?
What do things look like locally?
Looking at deprivation deciles over time, inequality appears to be increasing. Recent equity audits have suggested that life expectancy amongst the most deprived decile has flatlined, while the most affluent decile continues to gain in life expectancy. This indicates that health inequalities remain and are widening (HEA, 2010; DPH Annual Report, 2010; 2011). In the case of females in the most deprived decile, their trajectory is in the direction of losing life years.
Where does Wakefield lose the greatest amount of life years?
Over the last 10 years, all cause mortality rates have fallen in Wakefield. Early death rates from cancer and from heart disease and stroke have fallen but remain worse than the England average. The gap between Wakefield and English rates persists (Health Profiles, 2011).
Since the production of Wakefield’s 2008 JSNA, analysis has been produced that suggests where the biggest gains in life expectancy can be found locally. In males, CHD, lung cancer, dementia, stroke and external causes (possibly land transport accidents) represent the greatest potential gains. In females, dementia, lung cancer, CHD, COPD and other cancers.
In the most deprived quintile (which encompasses the priority neighbourhoods), the pattern is more pronounced – particularly amongst men. CHD, lung cancer, COPD, liver disease, other cancers and stroke represent the greatest potential gains. CHD represents by far the biggest contributor to reduced life expectancy amongst males in this quintile (Priorities for Increasing Life Expectancy, YHPHO, 2009). In females amongst the most deprived quintile, other cancers, CHD, COPD and lung cancer represent the greatest potential gains (Priorities for Increasing Life Expectancy, YHPHO, 2009).