Useful links

Health Inequalities

Welcome to the Inequalities section of Cumbria’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2015 onwards.

The latest JSNA Inequalities chapter can be accessed via the link below:

JSNA Health Inequalities Chapter (July 2015)

Key issues and recommendations

Key issues -

  • In Cumbria life expectancy at birth for males is 78.8 years and females 82.4 years which are
    lower than the national average of 79.2 years and 83 years respectively.

  • There is a significant difference in life expectancy across different areas (wards). The
    difference in life expectancy at birth between the most and least deprived wards is 16.4
    years for males and 14.6 years for females.

  • Deprivation is associated with inequalities. Cumbria has 29 communities that rank amongst
    the most deprived in the England.

  • Life expectancy at birth in the most deprived quintile of Cumbria (2010-2012) is 74.2 years
    for males and 79.3 years for females compared to 81.6 years for males and 84.2 years in the
    least deprived quintile in Cumbria.

  • Health inequalities are apparent right across the life course, even before birth. For example
    mothers from deprived areas of Cumbria are more likely to smoke in pregnancy, more likely
    to have low birth weight babies and are less likely to breastfeed.

  • By 2037 the proportion of residents aged 65+ is projected to increase to 32.9% across
    Cumbria (Experian jobs projections, 2013).

  • Poverty and income inequality are key drivers of poor health. Living in poverty is closely
    related to other factors that influence health such as education, living environment,
    employment and lifestyle.

  • Educational attainment significantly affects future life chances. In 2014 56.8% of children in
    Cumbria obtained five or more Key Stage 4 exams (GCSE) with grades A*-C– including
    English and Mathematics. However, there are significant variations in communities across
    the county with just 21.1% of children living in the ward of Upperby in Carlisle compared to
    91.7% of children living in the ward of Ulverston West in South Lakeland.

  • Lifestyle related issues such as smoking, excessive alcohol use and obesity show strong
    associations with deprivation and thus contribute to inequalities.

Recommendations for consideration for commissioners -

Tackling inequalities involves action by all organisations and sectors throughout Cumbria. Action is
required if we are to give all people in Cumbria the opportunity for a long, healthy and happy life.  In
order to address health inequalities in Cumbria commissioners should:

  • Have a universal approach to commissioning throughout Cumbria which is proportionately
    targeted (proportionate universalism) to deprivation and socioeconomic status.

  • Ensure that reducing health inequalities are key objectives for all, by ensuring a collaborative
    approach to tackling the wider and social determinants of health such as employment,
    income, housing, occupation and deprivation.

  • Adopt a life course approach; all partners should work together to establish a clear and co-
    ordinated programme to intervene early when problems first arise to support the health and
    wellbeing of children and young people.

  • Work together to maximise opportunities for local communities to exercise an increasing
    degree of influence and control over decision making, service provision, with support for a
    community development approach.

  • Focus on the causes of death which contribute most to reduce life expectancy and that can
    have the biggest impact on health inequalities.

  • Monitor inequalities on an ongoing basis through district or locality action plans that can be
    governed through the Public Health Alliance and Health and Wellbeing Forums.

  • Undertake further Health Inequalities JSNA work at a locality level to include qualitative data
    to gain local knowledge about the experiences of the local community.

  • Explore how we fill local current data gaps for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered,
    Black and Minority Ethnic Groups or other groups with protected characteristics.

  • Conduct a Homelessness Health Need Audit to address health inequalities and establish the
    health needs of single homeless people in each local authority area.

Evidence and research

Evidence and research information including briefings and other publications supporting the Inequalities theme of the JSNA is available via the links below:

Further information

For further information relating to the Inequalities theme of the JSNA please contact:

Jane Mathieson, Consultant Public Health / Katherine Taylor, Health Improvement Specialist
Health and Wellbeing - Public Health 
Cumbria County Council
Email: /
Tel: 07900 656206 / 07900 680567