The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area is home to cutting-edge innovation, world-leading universities and research institutes, and internationally renowned healthcare institutions.
However, our area is also characterised by stark health inequalities. Approximately 112,000 of our population (13%) reside in the 20% most deprived quintile nationally. Of these, approximately 107,000 (95%) live in the North of the system concentrated in and around Peterborough and Fenland, with pockets of deprived areas within Cambridge City.
A 10-year life expectancy gap exists between men living in the poorest areas of Peterborough compared to the most affluent areas in Cambridge. This gap in life expectancy is driven predominantly by early deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory conditions. Higher rates of smoking, obesity, and alcohol dependence in our more deprived areas are all contributory factors to chronic conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
Additionally, people in the poorest areas of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are much more likely to be hospitalised unexpectedly, with avoidable admissions being twice as high in our most deprived neighbourhoods compared to our least deprived neighbourhoods.
Meanwhile, our patients living in the least deprived neighbourhoods have 37% more elective procedures – which includes interventions like hip replacements and cataract removal – than people living in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
Whilst local data on health inequalities on the basis of protected characteristics, such as ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, is limited, national data indicates that there are also significant health inequalities for groups of people with these characteristics.
For example, the life expectancy of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities – who form our largest ethnic minority group in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – is 10 to 12 years less than that of the non-traveller population. People who identify as LGBT+ have higher risk of common mental health problems and lower wellbeing than people who identify as heterosexual, and children and young people with a learning disability are three times more likely than average to also have a mental health problem.
As an Integrated Care System, we recognise the very real impact these and other statistics have for the health and wellbeing of our local communities. By bringing together Primary Care, NHS trusts, Local Authorities, Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations and other partners through the ICS, we now have a unique opportunity to work together as one to make real improvements to the health, care and wellbeing of everyone across our area, no matter where they live.
Although our system continues to face financial challenges, by working in a more joined-up way than ever before we will be able to use the funds available to us more effectively to improve the health and wellbeing of our local people throughout their lives.