About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How long have I got?

Leaving aside any politics or debates about the pro's and con's of our welfare state, and pension system (which in fact predates the welfare state - the random facts you get from watching BBC4 documentaries, or was it QI?) , this makes interesting reading. If we lay all the economics and social policy stuff about pension pot, and actuarial scales...something I don't even profess to comprehend let alone understand, one table hit me:

Lowest Life expectancy at age 65
432Glasgow CityScotland13.8
430North LanarkshireScotland14.9
429West DunbartonshireScotland14.9
427KnowsleyNorth West15.3
426ManchesterNorth West15.3
425LiverpoolNorth West15.3
424HartlepoolNorth East15.4
423Cannock ChaseWest Midlands15.4
Copy and paste directly from BBC Website on 30th September 2008

Note how the bottom 5 are all in the area covered by my beloved Medical school. One factor that those of you not familiar with the West of Scotland can be seen in this map
Sitting squarely between Glasgow City and North Lanarkshire, and adjoining West Dumbartonshire is East Dumbartonshire, and area which one might except to have a similarly poor life expectancy for its 65 year old residents. Except that it does not. If we look at other statistics in teh full report (here) we see that East Ayrshire adnd Clackmannanshire also have poor life expectancy figures. And yet, East Renfrewshire does not.

There seems to hjave been some nice games played when the old Strathclyde region was divvied up in the 1990's, to create the unitary authorities you see on the map above. The two areas I identified, East Dumbartonshire and East Renfrewshire also have very high (for West of Scotland):
  • school exam results,
  • owner occupier,
  • car ownership,
  • house prices,
  • health indicators
  • incomes.
It seems that there was a plan to create these areas of middle-upper class suburbia perhaps by civil servants who wanted to create areas for people like us? Note how there is a real U shape in the top of Glasgow to shoehorn East Dumbartonshire (Milngavie & Bearsden) between Maryhill and Drumchapel housing schemes which stay in Glasgow City. They also have lower council tax, and allegedly better services. And who lives in these areas? Well there are a fair few Consultants, Civil Servants, Teachers, University Lecturers, professional people and accountants/Lawyers. They get the benefits of city life, with the benefits of suburban council taxes. Now Greater Glasgow maybe too big for one council to run it, but there are other options to divide the area.....

The local health profiles designed by the ISD of NHS Scotland are interesting reading (unless you are a Glasgow First Year Medical Student doing Block3/4 Community Diagnosis coursework, or year 2 Family Project coursework). Similar are available in England. They also offer tobacco atlases! I can't stand doing statistics but I like graphs and maps... Maybe epidemiology is worth understand after all, but I still don't think I could deal with a career in public health.

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