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Regional economics - Seaside poor health overlooked

Geoff Riley

21st July 2021

Economic and social deprivation suffered by many in UK coastal towns is highlighted in a report from England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty.

You can access the Annual Report from the Chief Medical Officer here

Most coastal towns have ‘hidden problems’ and a big wealth and income divide. Their populations tend to be older, per capita incomes are lower and economic inactivity rates are higher. This feeds through to worse outcomes for public health, a problem accentuated by the lack of public health facilities including access to NHS dentists. Whitty argues that many residents are left "old before their time."

These problems have been apparent for decades and will require major investment from both public and private sector to address in a fundamental way. Coastal economic decline is a really important aspect of the regional economic problem for the UK.

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • Ageing population - In smaller seaside towns, 31% of the resident population was aged 65 years or over in 2019, compared to just 22% in smaller non-coastal towns.
  • Reduced access to high quality health care - coastal communities have 14.6% fewer postgraduate medical trainees, 15% fewer consultants and 7.4% fewer nurses per patient than the national average despite higher healthcare needs.
  • Unemployment and part-time employment rate is higher in coastal towns and the level of economic diversification is lower.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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