The overall health of Peterborough residents is significantly worse than the rest of England, according to a report by a government-sponsored body.
Public Health England’s 2015 report into the area run by Peterborough City Council, released in early June, states the city is well below the English average in 15 of 32 indicators, and only significantly better in two.
This compares badly with the combined, separate Cambridgeshire area (Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire, South Cambridgeshire) which is only significantly worse than the England average in three indicators, while being significantly better in 22.
Indicators where Peterborough is statistically significantly worse than the English average include: deprivation, children (under 16s) in poverty, statutory homelessness, teen pregnancies and hospital stays for self-harm and alcohol.
Violent crime and GCSEs achieved (five A*-C including English and maths) are also on the list.
The other areas where Peterborough is struggling are: smoking prevalance, prevalence of opiate and/or crack use, rates of TB, hip fracture in people aged 65 years and over, life expectancy at birth – male and female, and under 75 mortality rate: cardiovascular.
With regards to deprivation, the report says 34 per cent of people in Peterborough live in the most deprived 20 per cent of areas in England.
It states: “The difference in deprivation between areas is a major determinant of health inequality in the United
Kingdom. Many studies and analyses have demonstrated the association of increasingly poor health with increasing deprivation.”
In better news, Peterborough is significantly better than the English average for the proportion of women smoking at time of delivery and the percentage of obese children (year 6).
The report also indicates that Peterborough is improving with regards to long-term unemployment, recorded diabetes, suicide rate and people killed or seriously injured on roads.
Peterborough is close to the English average in the following indicators: long-term unemployment, breastfeeding initiation, alcohol-specific hospital stays in under 18s, percentage of adults physically active, obese and overweight adults, rate of malignant melanoma, recorded diabetes, new STIs in under 25s (excluding Chlamydia), excess winter deaths, infant mortality, smoking related deaths, suicide rate, under 75 mortality rate for cancer and people killed or seriously injured on roads.
The priorities for Peterborough, according to the report, are: improving child health, reducing cardiovascular disease and more targeted work to address health inequalities.
The introduction to the report says: “Public Health England’s annual Health Profiles give a snapshot of the overall health of each local authority in England.
“The profiles present an important set of indicators relating to the wider determinants of health and health outcomes.
“The local value for each indicator is compared with the national average in order to highlight potential problem areas.
“The profiles are produced for use by elected councillors, Directors of Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and to inform Joint Strategic Needs Assessments.”
Dr Anne McConville, interim consultant for public health at the council, said: “This data is really helpful as it gives us a snapshot of health in Peterborough. There’s always going to be places that are better or worse.
“Some of this tells us that, although health in Peterborough has been improving, it has not been improving as fast as other places and that’s the challenge for us.
“We would like to raise health aspirations for people in Peterborough. We do offer help to quit smoking and still one in five people in Peterborough smoke, we do offer health checks between the ages of 40 and 74 which looks at their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but only half of people take this up.
“We have opportunities to look across all of the council’s business to see how we can improve people’s health.
“The challenge for us is to look at the inequalities within Peterborough, as well as the difference between Peterborough and Cambridgeshire as a whole and the rest of England, and really focus on our efforts and where we can make the biggest impact.”
View: The full report