Seventeen-year ‘healthy years’ gap between north and south of Northamptonshire

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PEOPLE in south Northamptonshire have up to 17 more years of healthy life than someone living in Corby, health experts have suggested.

Past comparisons of the large gap between the health of those living in affluent areas and those from deprived areas have focused on life expectancy, with people in Corby living about five years less on average than those in Towcester.

At a health conference for voluntary groups in Moulton yesterday, experts said even greater disparities exist beneath the surface.

Dominic McClean, of the event’s organisers Northampton Volunteering Centre, said: “One of the most surprising things I heard at the conference is that there are even worse statistics than the life expectancy. Between some areas, there are 17 years difference between the amount of life you have in good health.

“I found that quite stunning.

“When you are in an affluent area you are mobile longer and have less years of serious diseases.

“It’s a matter of social justice that we do something about these health inequalities.”

Mr McClean was joined at the event, at Kings Park Conference Centre, by GPs, and NHS and University of Northampton experts, as well as representatives from volunteer groups.

In the past NHS bosses have said they regularly roll out specific schemes in deprived areas to boost health.

Yesterday, respected speakers gave talks and the groups attended workshops on how to solve the worrying inequalities across the county. Mr McClean said one of the ways is to encourage more people to take up volunteering, which he claimed has hidden knock-on effects.

He said : “Lots of people get to an age where they don’t work and believe they are on the scrap heap.

“They get depressed and are not going to be motivated to eat healthily or exercise regularly.

“Volunteering not only helps the people the organisation is aimed at, it gives the volunteers themselves the sense of purpose lacking in their life.”