Health Divide

19th October, 2015

The Health Divide

The connection between where you’re from and how long you live has long since been established. The chances are, if you reside in a more deprived part of the country the fewer years you will have.

Indeed, official figures released on Wednesday by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), show that average life expectancy in Inverclyde is almost five years less when compared to wealthier council areas such as East Dumbartonshire.

But the health divide doesn’t just exist between different council areas it also exists within communities. If we were to dig a little deeper, I’m sure we would find a gulf in life expectancy between those who live in some parts of the east end of Inverclyde compared to those in the West End.

While Inverclyde clearly has some catching up to do with other local authorities there is some good news. Both men and women in Inverclyde are living longer. When compared to a decade ago, men are living five years more and women three years more.

The elderly population contribute so much to society through their volunteering and the words of wisdom and support they give to family, friends and neighbours. So the fact that they are living longer will have a positive impact on the community.

However, the rising elderly population also presents a challenge. Currently our health services are having difficulty coping with the increase in demand which is affecting the quality of care given to older people who often have complex health needs.

This is why it is vital that the balance of care is shifted out of our hospitals and into the community. This will allow the elderly to receive care that is specific to their needs within their own home or in a homely setting. We don’t just want people to be living longer we also want people to be living healthier lives too.