BARNSLEY residents suffer from some of the worst health of anywhere in the country, figures have revealed.
Census data shows wide disparities in health across England and Wales, with some areas having over three times more people in bad health than others.
Office for National Statistics figures show 7.5 per cent of residents in Barnsley said they were in ‘bad or very bad’ general health in the 2021 Census – one of the highest proportions in Yorkshire and The Humber.
Nationally, 5.4 per cent of people responded to the census saying they were in bad or very bad health. This rose to 5.9 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The Nuffield Trust think-tank said people living in certain areas fare much worse than others, and that the improvement in health across the country has not been enjoyed uniformly.
Sally Gainsbury, from the think-tank, highlighted the impact socio-economic factors had on people’s health.
She said: “The role of socio-economic inequalities was often overlooked in health inequalities policy in the decade up until the pandemic.
“NHS England needs to follow through with their new focus on economic deprivation, as well as other, often related, drivers of health inequalities such as racial discrimination and social exclusion.
“We look forward to the government giving these issues the attention they deserve in the long-delayed white paper on health inequalities.”
There were also regional disparities in the number of unpaid carers across the country, the figures show.
In London and the south-east, four per cent of the population said they provided at least 20 hours of unpaid care per week. At the other end of the scale, this figure rose to 5.8 per cent in Wales.It was much higher in Barnsley where 6.1 per cent of the population said they provided high levels of unpaid care.
The data also shows 10.6 per cent of Barnsley residents were classed as disabled in 2021.
By the ONS ranking of health levels – which takes into account poor health, disability and unpaid care – Barnsley ranks 314th of England and Wales’ 331 local authority areas.
The Department for Health and Social Care said the gap in the number of years people live in good health is ‘stark and unacceptable’.
A spokesperson added: “We recently announced a major conditions strategy to address regional disparities in health outcomes, supporting the levelling up mission to narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy by 2030.
“There is already work ongoing across the north east, with the local integrated care boards investing £39m over the next three years to prevent ill health and address health disparities.”