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Life expectancy gap between rich and poor widens

7 years ago213 views



The gap between the life expectancy of the rich and poor widened despite efforts to close it, an official Government watchdog revealed.

A National Audit Office (NAO) report which focused on 70 of the most deprived areas in England found that while life expectancy went up across the board, the difference compared with more affluent parts of the country was greater - seven per cent for men and 14 per cent for women.

In 1995-97, men in poorer areas were expected to live 72.7 years, compared with 74.6 years in the rest of England.

By 2006-08, the life expectancy of men in these areas rose to 75.8, but the average for men in the rest of the country went up to 77.9 years.

The NAO report recommended three ways to reduce the gap; prescribing more drugs to control blood pressure and cholesterol and help people quit smoking.

Karen Taylor, director of health value for money at the Audit Office, said it had taken time for health inequalities to become an important part of NHS policy and planning, giving "little time" for actions to impact on the 2010 target.