Is South Buckinghamshire a “picture of health” for the people who live in this area?
Each year the Association of Public Health Observatories produces a snapshot of information – for instance, life expectancy for men and women – measured against the average for England. Alongside health information, there are also comparisons of educational achievement, children living in poverty and the amount of violent crime recorded in each area.
A good start in life is essential and I think it would be expected that South Buckinghamshire would have a high proportion of students who achieve 5 GCSEs of grades between A* and C. The percentage is 69% which is well above the average of 50.9%.
We score highly as an area where there is overall less deprivation and fewer children living in poverty than the national average. There are a good number of children who are physically active, obesity is below the national average and there are fewer teenage pregnancies than the average for England. Overall, though, there are more than 1,200 children who are living in poverty and we cannot dismiss this situation as it will affect those children for the rest of their lives.
At the other end of the age scale, there is an inequality in life expectancy. People living in the more deprived areas will live four years less than those living elsewhere.
One area where, sadly, South Buckinghamshire does less well than the national average is in the number of road injuries and deaths each year. This is something where most of us can try to make life safer for both motorists and pedestrians.
However, one new statistic which is showing a red flag this year is the number of over-65s who have fractured a hip. Covering hospital admissions in 2008-9, the number increased sharply above the number admitted in 2007-8, so it does not take in the period when we had icy weather earlier this year and the potholes that resulted from it. Whatever the reason, anyone helping elderly relatives can look at ways to minimise the risk of falls and fractures.