People living in northern England are 20% more likely to die early (under the age of 75) compared to those from the south, according to a new study.
The University of Manchester research uncovered a north-south divide in deaths among middle-aged adults, which has been rising since the mid-90s and is now at alarming levels.
It found that in 2015, there were 49% more deaths among 35 to 44-year-olds and 29% more deaths among 25 to 34-year-olds in the north.
The study, published in the BMJ’s Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, used data from the Office of National Statistics on the whole English population from 1965 to 2015.
Lead researcher, Professor Iain Buchan from The University of Manchester, said: “Five decades of death records tell a tale of two Englands, north and south, divided by resources and life expectancy – a profound inequality resistant to the public health interventions of successive governments.
“A new approach is required, one that must address the economic and social factors that underpin early deaths, especially in younger populations, and one that focuses on rebalancing the wider economy to help drive investment in northern towns and cities.”
The University of Manchester is a member of the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), a partnership of universities and NHS organisations driving innovations in health science and business growth in the region through initiatives such as the Health North: Connected Health Cities programme. This is a flagship NHSA project to harness regional data and advanced digital technologies for health science and care.
Chief executive of the NHSA, Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, said: “Health inequalities between the north and south of the country must be addressed by government as a priority.
“The NHSA wants to harness the north’s huge potential in health innovation and life sciences for the benefit of its 15 million population. Research conducted by IPPR North demonstrates the government invests much less in health research funding in the north of England than in the south, despite the huge need, as demonstrated by this research, to address inequalities.”
“The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is one way in which to make the investment needed to readdress the health inequalities these figures so starkly demonstrate.”