Men living in the poorest parts of England die on average almost a decade earlier than those living in the richest parts, official statistics show.
The 9.7-year gap, based on data from 2018 to 2020, is an increase of about 110 days on the results from 2015 to 2017.
Covid-19, which has disproportionately affected the most disadvantaged communities, is believed to be a major factor in the increase.
For women, the average gap in life expectancy was 7.9 years between those in the most and least deprived areas. This is an increase of about six months.
However, the results are not fully comparable, as data from 2015 to 2017 also includes figures for Wales.
Hospital leaders have called for “urgent action” against these “entrenched and unjustifiable” health inequalities.
Director of Policy and Strategy at National Health Service Providers, Miriam Deakin, said: “The current cost of living crisis and widening gap in health inequalities underscore the importance of urgent and concerted action on the broader determinants along with working to ensure that health services are equitable and fair.”
Meaningful change, he added, can only be achieved through collaboration that addresses “all the factors that contribute to people’s health, including poverty.”
The deputy director of healthy lives at the British NGO Health Foundation, David Finch, described the difference in life expectancy as “staggering”.
The data “shows the uneven impact of the pandemic with larger falls in life expectancy in the poorest areas of England compared to the richest,” he said.
The data, from the Office for National Statistics, also showed that men and women in the most deprived areas of England spent far more years with poor health than those in the wealthier areas of the country.
“Girls born in the poorest parts of England live 19 years less in good health than those born in the richest parts,” Finch added.
Reducing these “serious” inequalities, he said, “requires a fundamental shift toward a whole-of-government approach that actively improves the conditions necessary to create good health, such as adequate income to meet rising costs of living, secure jobs, and affordable housing.” worthy”. .”
Professor Michael Marmot, an expert on inequalities and director of the UCL Institute for Health Equity, wrote in a recent article guardian article that the pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities in health.
“In the decade before the pandemic, UK health improvement slowed dramatically, inequalities increased and the health of the poorest people worsened. All of this was amplified by the pandemic,” he wrote.
“Unless we address people’s inability to meet their basic needs through adequate income and services, we are in danger of inflicting a humanitarian calamity on one of the world’s richest countries.”