Portsmouth and Gosport named in top 20 for men dying prematurely 

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FIGURES have found deprived areas have more avoidable deaths, warranting calls for more to be done to help people in poorer communities.

An investigation by the BBC Local News partnerships found people living in deprived parts of the UK are more likely to die prematurely.

Portsmouth was in the top 20 per cent for men dying from avoidable deaths with 347 between 2014 and 2016. This, combined with the city’s rank of deprivation, makes the area one of the worst in the UK.

Gosport was also in the top 20 per cent for men with 298 deaths between 2014 and 2016.

Meanwhile, Fareham was placed in the bottom 20 per cent for women dying prematurely with 136.

Calls are being made to improve outcomes for people living in deprived areas.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘We know people living in deprived areas of the city live on average 10 years less than people living in richer areas.

‘It is a disgrace that in the 21st century in a country that has the sixth biggest economy that we can still tolerate this level of inequality. There are things that have to be done to change this.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said solving the issue is about personal choice and education but also changes the government can make.

‘One of the issues ensuring there is enough decent council houses,’ he added.

‘People are being forced to live in unsuitable homes which are damp because they have no other choice. This leads to health problems.’

Dr Jason Horsley, director of Public Health at the council, said the figures for Portsmouth are in line with other areas of a similar deprivation levels. He added work is being done to help change the outcomes.

‘The work that is being done across organisations to provide the best start in life should help to change these figures,’ he said.

‘Access to healthcare also needs to be improved in the most deprived areas, especially through ensuring that primary care in the most deprived areas has the best funding.  

‘We all have a role to play in changing these figures. Local authorities, schools and healthcare services should be joined together in working on this. At a national level we continue to need good, supportive policy and legislation which prioritises population health.’

A spokesman for the department of health and social care said: ‘The number of deaths can fluctuate each year, but generally people are living longer.

‘We have commissioned Public Health England to undertake a review of life expectancy and mortality trends.’

The spokesman added they are ‘taking strong action on helping people live longer and healthier lives’.