Around 900 Sheffield deaths per year 'could be prevented'

One in five deaths in Sheffield could be prevented, it has been suggested
One in five deaths in Sheffield could be prevented, it has been suggested
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Hundreds of deaths in Sheffield could be prevented each year, the city's director of public health has said.

The new Sheffield Council public health annual report states around 900 people are dying per year in the city whose lives could have been saved.

It said the rates of preventable deaths in the city were ‘significantly higher’ than the national average - with the main causes including things like high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, smoking, alcohol consumption and lack of physical activity.

Greg Fell, Sheffield’s director of public health and author of the report, said: "The two main causes of death in Sheffield people are cancer and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) which together account for more than half of all deaths each year.

"When causes of death in men and women are considered separately, dementia is the third main cause of death in women whilst respiratory disease is the third main cause of death in men.

"Although death rates are reducing in Sheffield they remain higher than England with the exception of deaths from certain infectious and parasitic diseases.

"Of greater concern is the number of deaths that are considered preventable. Overall it is estimated that around 20 per cent of all deaths in Sheffield could be prevented each year - that’s equivalent to around 900 deaths every year. This is significantly higher than for England.

"The main direct causes of preventable deaths are high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, smoking, alcohol consumption and lack of physical activity.

"Addressing these causes saves lives and livelihoods."

Commenting on the report, Mr Fell said: “Life expectancy in Sheffield has been increasing and is 78 for men and 82 for women. But people will typically spend around 20 years of their lives in poor health, and there are big differences across the city.

"People living in affluent areas such as Dore and Totley tend not to develop long-term health problems until their early 70s, whereas people living in more deprived areas often experience them 20 years earlier in their 50s.

“This is a big issue for the city and we need to address it.”

The report states more needs to be done to help those living in poorest health and tackle the conditions that affect this. This goes further than just health and social care services, and includes areas like education, early years care, housing, employment and the environment.

Mr Fell said: “There’s no silver bullet to tackle the inequalities that continue to blight the city and this will always be a problem as long as people don’t have enough money for things like heating and eating.

“Things become much more difficult with the continuing cuts and austerity. But we’re an ambitious city and services are working more closely than ever to make things happen.”

The report suggested a ‘Heart of Sheffield’ programme is launched to deliver health public policies and services including new schemes to stop people smoking and drinking and further work to encourage people to exercise more.