In 2000 the Government set a target to narrow by 10 per cent the health gap between people living in the most "deprived areas" and the rest of the country. It identified 70 local authority areas that had the worst rates of things like life expectancy and multiple deprivation. Salford, of course, was one of those `spearhead' areas.
The key findings of the report, released today, show that, far from reducing the gap between the `spearhead areas' and the rest of the country, the gap has actually widened. And it quite categorically states that 80-85 per cent of "all-age all-cause mortality performance can be explained by its association with socio-economic factors" – in other words, poverty.
The report adds that, while life expectancy has improved over the years, Salford and most other spearhead places are `off track' in narrowing the life expectancy gap with the rest of the country. Life expectancy for the whole population is 77.9 years for men and 82 years for women but in the spearhead areas it's an average of 75.8 years for men and 80.4 years for women.
The figures quoted above are an average over the 70 worst areas in the country, but figures produced for Partners in Salford and reproduced on the Salford Star website last year (click here) show that the picture is much worse at a purely local level…
• Life expectancy for our men is over 3 years less than the average English bloke.
• Life expectancy for our ladies is almost 3 years less than the average English woman
And at the route of these horrendous health statistics, is poverty. Meanwhile, the Salford Star also showed earlier the year that fat cat health executive and non-executive directors, including Hazel Blears' husband Michael Halsall, are picking up well over £1million in fees from the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Salford NHS Trust (click here and here)….
Figures also released today by the Cabinet Office show that those who are charged with easing poverty and its associated conditions are hardly suffering…
Bob Kerslake – Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency – salary between £220-224,999
Dara Singh – Chief Executive of Job Centre Plus – salary between £185-189,999
R. Jackson - Chief Executive Officer at Student Loan Company – salary between £165-169,999
Peter Marsh – Chief Executive of the Tenants Services Authority – salary between £165-169,999
That will make us all feel better as we go to our early grave...