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UK Against Fluoridation

Thursday, June 26, 2008

UK - Our booze shame

Our booze shame
By Steph Johnson
Last updated 13:49, Wednesday, 25 June 2008
The number of Cumbrians who end up in hospital because of alcohol related illnesses is 25 per cent higher than the national average.
Having a pintHealth Profiles released by the government yesterday reveal that Carlisle, Copeland and Allerdale are particular hotspots for boozers taking up NHS beds.
Binge drinking is higher than average in Copeland, Carlisle, Allerdale and Eden, which is in line with a rise in the county-wide rates over the last year.
The profiles show the prospects for a long and healthy life in parts of Cumbria are not as good as they are in the rest of the UK.
The number of deaths and injuries on the county’s roads is more than 40 per cent above the national average, with about 402 incidents each year.
The Department of Health also highlighted high levels of tooth decay in children living in Copeland and Allerdale, a finding likely to add bite to the debate over fluoridation of water supplies.
The government has said the practice improves oral health but West Cumbria has been adding fluoride to its tap water for years.
The profiles make grim reading for those living in Copeland and Carlisle, which according to DOH indicators are among the unhealthiest places in the country.
High levels of obesity, premature deaths and mental health issues are just some of the problems which are hitting parts of Cumbria harder than most.
In comparison Eden was top ranked in 15 of the 32 profile indicators.
Residents enjoy lower levels of teenage pregnancy, a longer life expectancy and there are fewer claims for mental health incapacity benefits.
Eden’s youngsters also have a better chance of success at GCSEs.
Copeland and Carlisle have high numbers of workers on low wages, deputy director of public health for Carlisle Dr Rebecca Wagstaff says this explains a lot of the findings as deprivation is linked to poor health.
Dr Wagstaff said resources are being channelled into tackling the major issues, with particular attention being paid to alcohol abuse through the Cumbria drink strategy.
She added: “There is also additional training for GPs and staff to help them work with people who drink too much.”
North West regional director of public health Dr Ruth Hussey says there are challenges ahead if the inequalities are to be addressed.
“A complex set of factors, including depravation and lifestyle, contribute to the major illnesses and diseases we face in our region and that is why the NHS is taking region-wide action with all our partners.”

SJohnson@cngroup.co.uk

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