Health inequalities in Kent parliamentary constituencies

Health inequalities cost lives. They are fundamentally linked to an inequality in wealth, access to services and political power.

The most depressed parliamentary constituency in Kent is North Thanet with 13.5% of patients at the GP surgeries across the constituency seeking help for the condition, research by the Shepwayvox Team shows. Sir Roger Gale is the sitting MP.  To put 13.5% into an understandable number that means 13,249 people are seeking help for the condition in North Thanet. The lowest prevalence of depression in Kent is in the Gravesham Parliamentary Constituency were just 5.9% (6261) of patients at GP surgeries seek help for the condition. Adam Holloway is the sitting MP for the Parliamentary Constituency.

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Analysis of the House of Commons library, of statistics from GP surgeries across Kent Parliamentary constituencies, shows a stark divide when it comes to mental health in Kent.

All of the areas where depression is rife in Kent Parliamentary constituencies are disproportionately poor and have above-average levels of people living alone, in poor physical health, unemployed and/or on benefits: all well-established risk factors for mental health disorders, according to the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.

Mental health spending per head in 2018-19 (including dementia and learning disabilities) shows that spend per head in the South East of England was £153 (The lowest spend in the England), compared to £208, for the north of England.

However, Kent is divided in more ways than just menatal health. From asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes and obesity levels, plus many other metrics depict a county of distinct differences.

The top three Parliamentary constituencies in Kent with the highest asthma levels are North Thanet, Folkestone & Hythe and South Thanet.  NHS Digital data details the count of hospital finished admission episodes (FAEs) with a primary diagnosis of asthma, broken down by children under 18 and adults over 18 for Kent parliamentary constituencies for the financial years 2010-11 to 2017-18 was 1760. Six percent of the North Thanet population is equivalent to 5893 people.

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Cancer rates across the Kent Parliamentary constituencies show that between 2013 – 2017 the number of people in Folkestone & Hythe District dying to early deaths due to cancer was 2,510 people. Three percent of the population in North Kent is equivalent to 2,946 people

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Obesity has now been acknowledged to be one of the most serious public health problems facing the UK.  From an economic perspective, predictions are for sharp rises in the cost to the taxpayer for treating obesity and related chronic illness.  People who are obese die on average nine years earlier than those of normal weight.  It is estimated that approximately 21%  or 1 in 5 people of the Kent adult population is obese.. This equates to 326,550 people or approximately three times the population of the Folkestone Parliamentary constituency.

The most obese parliamentary constituency in Kent is Gordon Henderson’s Sittingbourne & Sheppey where 13% of people are classified as obese. This is equivalent to 15,336 people. Canterbury has the least amount of obese people with 5.7% of the population which is equivalent to 7,065

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Diabetes is a major public health challenge. Diabetes reduces the life expectancy of people with type 1 by about 15 years and type 2 by about 10 years. In 2017/18 there were approaching 102,630 people diagnosed with diabetes in Kent. This represents 6.6% of the Kent population.

The top three parliamentary constituencies with the highest diabetes rates in Kent are North Thanet (Sir Roger Gale) – 7661 people, Sittingbourne & Sheppey (Gordon Henderson) – 9084 people and Folkestone & Hythe (Damian Collins) – 8641 people

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House of Commons Library analysis of Rate of depression and Rate of obesity are based on data from NHS Digital (2017/18). Data refers only to cases diagnosed by GPs.

Kent is divided in more ways than one. it is not just these health metrics but others such as Atrial Fibrilliation, Coronary Heart Disease, COPD, High Blood Pressure, Osteoporisis, Stroke & Transient Ischaemic Attack and other health conditions which depict a county of differences, as can be seen in this spreadsheet

Health inequalities are more pronounced where deprivation levels are highest in the county, and this is fundamentally linked to an inequality in wealth, access to services and political power.

Health inequalities cost lives.  The data we analysed provides sufficient evidence that current policies are not merely failing to tackle health, but are making matters worse.  We hope those responsible for them will realise this and begin on a new journey to minimise the damage they are causing.

The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

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