Deaths in Sheffield ‘could be prevented’

21 Nov 2013....Sheffield skyline SM1001/27a
21 Nov 2013....Sheffield skyline SM1001/27a
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Hundreds of deaths in Sheffield could be prevented each year, a new health 
report has said.

The new Sheffield Council public health annual report states around 900 people are dying each 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 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 while 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.”

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, to be discussed by councillors at a cabinet meeting next Wednesday, said a programme should be launched to deliver services including schemes to stop people smoking and drinking, and work to encourage people to exercise more.