LARGE health inequalities exist in the borough. Local Democracy Reporter JOSEPH TIMAN asks what is being done to narrow the gap.

HOW long you can expect to live varies by up to a decade based on where you live in Bolton.

The figures are revealed in life expectancy rates for the town ­— which show a worrying divide between different wards.

Life expectancy at birth for females born in Bolton has started falling, while it has stalled for males.

This means that on average, a baby girl born in 2018 will expect to live a shorter life than a female child who was born the year before.

This comes after 10 years of sustained increase in life expectancy in Bolton.

Those born in Bromley Cross between 2013 and 2017 have the highest life expectancy across the borough at 83 for men and 86.1 for women.

Westhoughton, Bradshaw, Heaton and Lostock also have life expectancy figures above 80 years for men and women.

Meanwhile, those born in Halliwell during the same period have a life expectancy of 73.1 for males and 77.1 for females.

It is closely followed by Great Lever which has a life expectancy of 73.6 for males and 77.1 for females.

Women in Farnworth, Harper Green and Hulton exceed men in life expectancy significantly, with females in each ward exceeding 80 years.

Bolton Council’s new director of public health, Dr Helen Lowey, said that much of the improvement in life expectancy over the past 100 years has been due to health and public health interventions.

She said: “Since 2011, life expectancy improvements have stalled in many parts of the country, primarily in more deprived areas. This is due to a number of contributing factors.

“Similar patterns to national life expectancy and healthy life expectancy are emerging for Bolton and much effort and support has been focused on the areas with the most need.

“Our approach in Bolton has been focused around the social determinants of health, working with schools to support initiatives such as the mile a day, and looking at regeneration plans to secure improvements to housing and employment.”

Bolton CCG chairman Wirin Bhatiani is concerned about the differences across different parts of the borough.

He told The Bolton News that authorities are working together with partners to address health inequalities.

He said: “It is important to look at the wider determinants of health, such as how housing, education and opportunities in life can impact on our wellbeing. It is also vital to focus our attention on providing a good start in life for our very youngest residents as this can lead to a healthier life in adulthood.

“That is why we work very closely with the council on developing services for early years. Just recently we worked together to redesign the 0-19 service to improve the health and wellbeing for children and young people.

“We are putting more emphasis on preventative measures and working more directly with our communities in order to equip them with the skills and knowledge to help them lead a healthier life. In addition we are looking at how we can take the NHS into schools to encourage our young people to be advocates for health improvement.”

Labour leader Linda Thomas represents the ward with the lowest life expectancy in Bolton.

She described the figures as “depressing” and “alarming” but not unexpected.

The former council leader said everyone should be living as long as those in Bromley Cross.

She said: “Those councillors who represent areas with high social deprivation understand and accept the evidence that if the social determinants of health are undermined this will affect people’s prospects of living a longer healthier life compared to those who have had those advantages in other parts of the town.”

Bolton Council has been “impeded” by government cuts worth a £1bn over the last decade, according to Cllr Thomas.

She said: “The reduction in public health grant is particularly frustrating too for those who know prevention really does work. We cannot impress enough on the need to see an urgent end to this undermining of local government at the ‘Tory Altar of Austerity’ if we want to see a reversal of these awful trends.

“This should be a wake-up call needing action and a change of direction now not merely warm words and platitudes from those in charge locally and nationally.’”

The new council leader David Greenhalgh represents Bromley Cross which has the highest life expectancy.

The Conservative leader said that tackling poverty and deprivation and reducing health inequalities are “key priorities” for the new administration.

He said: “Tackling health inequalities is one of our borough’s greatest challenges. It’s something the last Labour administration failed to do, despite throwing billions of pounds at narrowing the gap between the most affluent and least well off in our town, health inequalities have grown during 40 years of Labour.

“It is a complex issue that covers housing, employment, environmental issues, and education, all of which can contribute, and progress won’t happen overnight.

“We will look at where other authorities have succeeded where Bolton, up until now, has not. We will measure outcomes. We will work in a partnership with key partner agencies, not in a council silo, and seek to be proactive, not reactive, by investing in early intervention models that tackle the causes, that we hope will produce sustainable outcomes.”


Life expectancy figures by ward for those born between 2013-17

Astley Bridge
Males 79.8
Females 84.6

Males 81.3
Females 84.4

Males 75.7
Females 78.8

Bromley Cross
Males 83
Females 86.1

Males 75
Females 79.9

Males 75.8
Females 80.2

Great Lever
Males 73.6

Males 73.1
Females 77.1

Harper Green
Males 75.4
Females 80.2

Heaton and Lostock
Males 81.3
Females 84.3

Horwich and Blackrod
Males 78.3
Females 82.5

Horwich North East
Males 79.2
Females 83.2

Males 79.5
Females 83.7

Males 76.7
Females 79.1

Little Lever and Darcy Lever
Males 78.2
Females 83.4

Males 76.8
Females 80

Males 79.7
Females 82.7

Tonge with the Haulgh
Males 77.3
Females 80.1

Westhoughton North
Males 81.9
Females 83

Westhoughton South
Males 80.2
Females 82.6