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"Shocking" local variation in early death rates

A "shocking" local variation in early death rates has been exposed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, showing that Cumbria is graded in the "worst" category for premature mortality.

The overall figures show that the north of England has a higher risk of early death than the south.

The Longer Lives is a new Public Health England (PHE) website which allows people to see how their local areas perform on early deaths caused by the four main killers, including cancer and heart disease.

You can view the "health map" here.

Mr Hunt is hoping that the website will improve public awareness on local health issues and help local councils and NHS boards to take action in tackling public health problems.

A traffic light system is used to display what areas are best, better than average, worse than average and worst.

“This shocking variation in early and unnecessary deaths means people’s lives are needlessly cut short, and that cannot continue unchecked.

“I want areas to use the data released today to identify local public health challenges like smoking, drinking and obesity and to take action to help achieve our ambition for saving 30,000 lives a year by 2020.

“Being more transparent will also allow professionals and the public to see how their local area is performing over time, allowing them to intervene and make improvements happen.”

– Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary