News | Durkan: Widening gap in health inequalities ‘disgraceful’

Durkan: Widening gap in health inequalities ‘disgraceful’

SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has commented following the publication of a report by the Department of Health that shows clear linkages between ill health and deprivation.

The Foyle MLA said:

“This report illustrates the clear link between deprivation and poor health. It is incredible in a place as small as Northern Ireland that there are such disparities between and within Council areas.

”The fact that more of these gaps seem to be widening rather than narrowing might explain why the Department has published this report with so little fanfare. In particular, deaths due to drug misuse was the largest inequality gap seen in three out of five Trust areas with the Western Trust topping the chart.

“It is clear that in the past six years, there has not been sufficient focus on bridging these gaps and ensuring better health outcomes.

” The blame for this, however, does not lie solely at the door of the Health Department. The previous DUP and Sinn Fein jointly led Executive failure to tackle poverty has major implications for the population here and this report is evidence of their failure.

“These figures make a compelling and irrefutable case for more investment in this area and meaningful interventions to create employment to deliver real opportunity, prosperity and improved health for our community.

“The SDLP has long called for creative interventions such as a city deal, a north-south structural fund and increased support such as increased childcare for working families. We will continue to demand their implementation and demand that parties who failed in the last 10 years in Government and in the last two years to form a government – don’t allow us to be trapped in endless political drift only for our community to face a future trapped in poverty and poor health.

“If this isn’t compelling evidence that Derry needs a city deal, then I don’t know what is.”

Mark H Durkan MLA

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