Derbyshire ranks well in early death survey

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Derbyshire residents are among the least likely in the country to die from liver disease according to new figures released today (Tuesday 11 June).

The number of early preventable deaths in the county from other illnesses also compares favourably in the new online national league table published by Public Health England (PHE).

PHE has launched a ‘Longer Lives’ website highlighting the number of deaths before the age of 75 from the four main killers – cancer, heart disease and stroke, lung disease and liver disease – comparing 150 authorities across the country.

Derbyshire falls in the mid-range ranking 67th with 63 deaths (per 100,000 people 2009-2011) from heart disease, at 62nd with 104 deaths from cancer and at 62nd with 22 deaths from lung disease – but is placed among the lowest nationally at 28th with 11 deaths from liver disease.

Derbyshire County Council will use the findings to support its partnership work with the county’s Health and Wellbeing Board to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent early deaths.

Board chair and county council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “Derbyshire is a healthy place to live with relatively lower levels of death occurring before people are 75.

“We also compare favourably with similar local authority areas of the country – but as we take on our new public health responsibilities we’re committed to reducing the number of early deaths as well as tackling a range of other challenging issues.

“There’s already a great deal of work being done in Derbyshire around smoking, alcohol, poor diet and obesity to improve the length and quality of people’s lives, but the information from this survey will help us better understand the local picture, see where there’s more to do and where to target our resources most effectively.”

The PHE report acknowledges that not all early deaths are preventable but that some authorities are better at tackling the causes than others. Overall, Derbyshire ranks 56th out of the 150 authorities featured in the PHE survey with 256 avoidable premature deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 to 2011.

Derbyshire County Council, in partnership with the Health and Wellbeing Board, is involved with and supports a range of services including:

* Stop smoking support services. Stopping smoking is the single most important choice for a healthier life

* Alcohol advice and treatment services to support people who have problems with drinking too much

* Free health checks for people at risk of heart attacks and strokes

* Healthy lifestyle promotion programmes including advice about exercise and nutrition

* Weight management services to help people achieve a healthy weight

* A health trainer programme to support people who are reviewing their health and want personal support to change

* The ‘Make Every Contact Count’ programme which trains staff who work with local people to encourage and support them to consider their lifestyle choices

Responsibility for public health transferred to the county council on April 1. The move gives the authority a leading role in tackling health inequalities and improving, promoting and protecting the health of local communities.

Derbyshire’s Director for Public Health Elaine Michel said: “It’s good to see that so many people are benefitting from a long and healthy life in Derbyshire. However we know that not all residents have the same opportunities to live healthily.

“We’re working closely with individuals, families and communities to make healthy choices easier and to provide the best possible prospect for people to have fulfilling, happy and healthy lives.

“We aim to be the council with the best health and the lowest level of preventable early deaths in the country.”

Department of Health research predicts that efforts to improve public health such as stopping smoking, improved diet and early diagnosis could dramatically reduce the 103,000 avoidable premature deaths in England every year.

* Residents can find useful tips about how to improve their health and information about local support services in the Derbyshire Public Health Report 2012-2013 at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/publichealthreport.