12:09 06 November 2012
Based on research conducted by experts at Imperial College London, deaths related to heart diseases across England have dropped by up to 50per cent. The bad news however, is that gains have not been shared equally, and the health gap between rich and poor communities has widened among older people.
According to the research, which studied almost 8,000 wards in England from 1982 to 2006, the places with the highest death rates are Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, parts of Yorkshire, and poor communities of London.
As reported by The Independent, death rates are 20per cent above average in poorest wards, and 20per cent below in the wealthiest wards, among men and women over 65-years-old.
Due to the economic crisis, people behind the research are thought to be concerned about the gap widening even more should further austerity measures be imposed.
It is understood that switching responsibilities from public health to local authorities, for example, can put the poor communities at risk.
Dr Perviz Asaria, who worked on the study, is quoted by the BBC saying: “If people's jobs are less stable, they may be forced to change their diet, or drink and smoke more.
“So we need to be concerned about these issues if we are going to carry on bringing death rates down.”
She added: “As public health gets taken up by local authorities, there's a danger that health budgets will have to compete with other services such as schools.
“It's essential that cardiovascular screening and prevention programmes don't get cut as a result.”
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