Letter: Sheffield's big class divide and the difference it makes to health and life expectancy
This letter sent to the Star was written by CM Langan, Sheffield, S8
The article entitled 'Residents are paying health price for living in Sheffield's poorest parts' (The Star, November 23), was of great interest to me, as a patient, carer and observer.
Sadly, it is so true about Sheffield's big class divide and the difference it makes to health and life expectancy. For instance, there is only one digit between Sheffield 9 and Sheffield 10, but a world of difference. They might as well be on opposite ends of the equator. Sheffield 5 and Sheffield 17 are not just numerically and geographically far apart, there's the beastly east (not my words), and the wealthier west. The dreaded 'pear shape' where all the affluence and better health is concentrated at the bottom end of the city, with very little at the top
Therefore, the collaboration between networks of GP practices throughout the city definitely offers a way forward, in order to break down this disastrous division. In fact, it is a gift for this city!
However, it is not just the city as a whole that is polarised but also parts of individual areas. Sheffield 8, where I live, for example, covers a large area, comprising both leafy, suburban districts and poorer urban ones, as well as council estates. I can name at least three GP practices round here that can be seen as 'a surgery of two halves', where the doctors are straddling the needs of both demographics. The GP networks in the more exclusively richer or poorer areas can certainly learn from these.
Anyway, I take my hat off to all concerned, not only for supplying medical care but for also apportioning how much money goes to who.
Collectively, it will all be much better distributed so that the poorer practices can benefit. They have lost out for way too long, after all.
Even if the collaboration is only partially successful (in the absence of any miracles or at least more substantial funding, there'll always be some degree of imbalance), then that will, I'm sure, be a big improvement. This will go some way towards closing that hideous gap between the rich and the poor, most of all when it comes to the medical care to which everyone is equally entitled.