Local life expectancy continuing to improve

Published Friday 21 November 2014 at 14:24

New data shows that the life expectancy of residents in Blackburn with Darwen is continuing to improve.

The data – released this week by the Office of National Statistics – shows that from 2011-13 life expectancy at birth for men is 76.8 years and for women it’s 81.2 years.

This has pushed Blackburn with Darwen three places up the local authority rankings for life expectancy for men, whilst for women it holds the significant improvement shown in the last round of data from 2010-12.

These new statistics come hot on the heels of a recent report commissioned by Public Health England that showed that the life expectancy of residents in Blackburn with Darwen had increased faster than the national average over the 10 years prior to 2011 as well.

‘Due North: the report of the inquiry on health equity for the north’ showed that that the borough has improved life expectancy by 3.2 years between 2001-11 – one of the biggest rises in life expectancy in the borough’s recorded history, placing it in the top performing 25 per cent of northern local authorities and even outperforming the national average for wealthier southern local authority areas.

Long standing partnership work between the Council and NHS has been credited for improving health and life expectancy. The amount of physical activity by local residents has steadily increased since the award-winning re:fresh initiative launched in 2008 and is now at record levels.

Over the last year, the Council has launched a wellbeing service that makes it easier for people to access any service that supports health and wellbeing – from weight management to debt advice – through a single phone number. It will help people to make positive lifestyle changes and is expected to support the continued drive to improve life expectancy.

The work is all part of the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy, overseen by the Health and Wellbeing Board, whose members include Council representatives, the Clinical Commissioning Group, members of the community and voluntary sector and Healthwatch.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, the Council’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care and Chair of Blackburn with Darwen Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“I’m delighted to see this continued good news about life expectancy in Blackburn with Darwen. It’s not just about treating ill-health but about doing the things we know will promote good health. Re:fresh is once again key, encouraging the people we know are least likely to exercise to take up an activity and eat more healthily. The wellbeing service will also help us continue the drive to improve life expectancy.

“We are amongst the most challenged authorities in England for health outcomes but this data shows the efforts of the public services in this borough, particularly the CCG and the Council, to improve life expectancy are making a real difference This is all the more remarkable given the unfair and disproportionate impact of public sector cuts imposed by national government on communities such  as Blackburn with Darwen.”

Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen said:

“This is great news – it shows the borough is making a sustained and continued improvement in life expectancy at birth for its residents. Clearly the borough’s innovations in public health, prevention and early intervention going on across all Council services, and its continuing work on integrated health and social care service delivery, is delivering improved life chances for residents.”

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer for Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added:

“At the heart of our plans for healthcare in the borough is our desire and need to improve life expectancy of our local residents. We are pleased that these latest statistics show an improvement in life expectancy rates.

“However, we are not complacent and recognise that there is still a significant amount of work needed to improve people’s health and wellbeing. Together with our partners at the Council, we are working to join up health and social care services more so that residents receive a seamless and higher quality service. Our ultimate aim is for people to live better and for longer and we will continue to work hard in achieving this goal.”

For more information about health and wellbeing in Blackburn with Darwen, visit www.refreshbwd.com.

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