Social and economic challenges for Cornwall

CornwallDemographicsDisproportionate number of residents aged 75 plus

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a total population of 545,335(as of 2014). The population of Cornwall contains more residents over the age of 75 than the average for England and their number is set to grow significantly and very quickly with a 32% increase by 2024. It is the group most at risk of multiple long-term conditions. If there is no change to current practice, numbers in the 75+ age group will exceed our capacity across health and social care to provide care for them. Family and friends providing care are also growing older (Cornwall Council Case for Cornwall Appendix 3 Transforming Health and Social Care page 3).

Above average life expectancy but only average healthy life expectancy

People in Cornwall live longer but spend more years, on average, living with disability and in poor health. Life expectancy has continued to increase in Cornwall from 79.2 to 79.5 years for men and from 83.3 to 83.5 years for women.

The inequalities gap for life expectancy is closing, down from 5.9 to 5.3 years for men and from 5.2 to 4.4 years for women . Cornwall is ranked 46th out of 150 local authorities for premature deaths. Overall, inequalities are estimated to cost Cornwall’s economy £610 million each year and rising(Cornwall Council Case for Cornwall Appendix 3 Transforming Health and Social Care page 3).

Cornwall is one of the ten poorest regions in Europe

Data produced by Eurostat, the data agency for the European Union positions Cornwall as one of the ten poorest regions in Europe. While the UK has a similar average standard of living to other European countries, this masks the deep inequalities in how wealth and income are distributed. There is no other country in the whole of the EU where the richest region – London – is nearly 5 times as rich as the poorest.

Within the UK, Cornwall some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the country. In Cornwall, one in ten live in the 20% most deprived areas in England. These areas are home to 53,000 people. 15,100 children (under 16) live in poverty, 22.8% of households are in fuel poverty and more than 30,000 people are on health related benefits. People in our disadvantaged communities are at higher risk of living with at least one debilitating condition and for more of their lives. Of those claiming Employment Support Allowance and incapacity benefits 46% report a mental health problem as their primary diagnosis (Cornwall Council Case for Cornwall Appendix 3 Transforming Health and Social Care page 4).

Children under 19 living in poverty in Cornwall stands at 17.6% of the population

Poverty has a major impact on the health and wellbeing of our population both in the short and long term(Cornwall Council Case for Cornwall Appendix 3 Transforming Health and Social Care page 4).

Cornwall has a higher prevalence of a range of diseases

The most common diseases in Cornwall and Scilly are set out in a table in the Cornwall Council Case for Cornwall Appendix 3 Transforming Health and Social Care. Top of that list is Hypertension suffered by 14.8% of the population, followed by Depression at 12.7%, Obesity at 11.1% and Asthma at 6.6%. There is a higher than average prevalence of Depression, Obesity and Asthma compared to the rest of England.

Mental health problems are estimated to be the commonest cause of premature death. Suicide deaths in Cornwall are higher than road deaths. At least 75% of drug and alcohol service users have a mental health condition; more than 40% of mental health service users have a substance misuse problem; 30% of people with a long-term physical illness also have a mental health condition. Many people with mental illness need support from a range of agencies and could benefit from more integrated care. (Cornwall Council Case for Cornwall Appendix 3 Transforming Health and Social Care page 5)