Life expectancy falls for most deprived women in Sheffield

The life expectancy of the most deprived women in Sheffield has fallen by 4% over the last nine years.

Speaking in Parliament, Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, claimed that under the Conservatives, life expectancy had improved for the most affluent, but had remained the same or decreased for the most deprived 10%.

The MP’s claims are supported by recent findings from Imperial College London, which revealed that the gap in life expectancy between the most affluent women in society and the most deprived has increased from 6.1 years in 2001 to 7.9 years in 2016.

This decrease in the life expectancy of disadvantaged women has been put down to a range of factors, including cuts in benefits and healthcare.

Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the research from Imperial College London, claimed that cuts in benefits, coupled with a rise in the cost of healthy food, forces the poorest in society to eat unhealthy processed options.

He added that cuts in healthcare has led to treatable diseases being diagnosed too late.

However, it is not just women who have been hit by cuts to healthcare. Children under five from the most deprived areas of the UK are two and a half times more likely to die than those from the most affluent families according to Mr Ezzati.

He said: “Falling life expectancy in the poorest communities is a deeply worrying indicator of the state of our nation’s health, and shows that we are leaving the most vulnerable out of the collective gain.”

A spokesperson from the government claimed they are working to improve the life expectancy of the poorest in society.

He said: “All local health systems will be expected to set out in this year how they are going to reduce health inequalities by 2023-24. So there will be an attempt to look at exactly those health inequalities.”

NHS England published the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’ in January which focuses on plans to commit more funding to areas with high health inequalities.