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Do you live in a deadly healthcare ‘risk zone’?

England’s death hotspots: Interactive map shows the 32 areas where you are 29% more likely to die of avoidable causes ‘because of NHS funding issues’ (so how does your town fare?)

  • Around nine million people live in ‘risk zones’ where the health service is strained
  • They are 29 per cent more likely to die of preventable causes than in other areas
  • A further 13 areas are ‘crunch zones’ which need urgent intervention
  • Experts say the data is ‘alarming’ and action must be taken to improve health

An interactive map has been created to show the areas in England where lives may be at risk because of a struggling NHS.

Health economists have listed the 32 ‘risk zones’ where people are 29 per cent more likely to die of avoidable causes.

Experts have blamed unprecedented pressure on the NHS and harsh funding cuts placed on trusts across the country.  

Around 17 per cent of the country, or nine million people, lives in the ‘risk zones’, which include three London boroughs, Birmingham and Liverpool.

The map, produced by the think-tank Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP), also lists 13 ‘crunch zones’, which have ageing populations but not enough social care funding. 

Experts warn the ‘alarming’ data – collected from the NHS and Office for National Statistics – shows the NHS and local authorities must work together to improve public health.

The map, which can be used by MailOnline readers below, allows people to find their own area and see others which are most at risk.

The full list: authorities in crisis across the country 

Economists found the risk of death from an avoidable or preventable cause – at any age – is 29 per cent higher in the risk zones than in other local authority areas. 

These zones are local authority areas which have poor health outcomes and where hospitals are in financial trouble. 

The 32 risk zones are: Middlesbrough, Cheshire West and Chester, Carlisle, Manchester, Tameside, Wigan, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, Hull, Barnsley, Bradford, Kirklees, Leicester, Nottingham, Lincoln, Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Worcester, Southend-on-Sea, Stevenage, Ipswich, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark, Medway, Reading, Dartford, Bournemouth, Cornwall, Torbay and Gloucester. 


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Crunch zones

Crunch zones are areas which may not be prepared for ageing populations and where social care is underfunded, which is putting extra strain on the local NHS and making it likely to run out of money.

Without urgent help these areas could become risk zones.  


Some 17 per cent of England’s population lives in what have been designated ‘risk zones’ – where healthcare is so stretched people are 29 per cent more likely to die of avoidable causes.

All 32 risk zones are: 

  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Carlisle
  • Manchester
  • Tameside
  • Wigan
  • Knowsley
  • Liverpool
  • Sefton
  • Hull
  • Barnsley
  • Bradford
  • Kirklees
  • Leicester
  • Nottingham
  • Lincoln
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Birmingham
  • Worcester
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Stevenage 
  • Ipswich 
  • Islington 
  • Lambeth
  • Southwark
  • Medway 
  • Reading 
  • Dartford 
  • Bournemouth 
  • Cornwall 
  • Torbay
  • Gloucester
  • Middlesbrough

The 13 crunch zones – areas which are in need of urgent intervention are:  Broadland, Cheshire East, Stockport, Wiltshire, Cheshire West and Chester, South Norfolk, South Lakeland, Canterbury, Sefton, Shropshire, Carlisle, Torbay and Cornwall.

Some areas are both risk zones and crunch zones. 

The 13 crunch zones, where the NHS is in danger of becoming overwhelmed are: Broadland, Cheshire East, Stockport, Wiltshire, Cheshire West and Chester, South Norfolk, South Lakeland, Canterbury, Sefton, Shropshire, Carlisle, Torbay and Cornwall.  

The map can also be colour-coded to show life expectancies in different local authority areas, and levels of deprivation. 

It has been created using NHS trusts’ financial data from 2015-16, as well as Office for National Statistics figures for life expectancy and population ages from between 2012 and 2016. 

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Government’s Health and Social Care Select Committee, said: ‘This analysis from the CPP sets out in stark detail the urgent need to plan not just for the scale of future need but to address the impact of current deficits on care.’

A funding boost would help, but money alone won’t fix the problems 

The CPP’s research suggests that a ten per cent increase in a typical local NHS trust’s funding could reduce A&E and referral waiting times to bring them in line with national standards. The target is to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours – but casualty units regularly fell below this threshold during the winter, which was branded as the ‘worst ever’ by Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The same financial boost for cash-strapped NHS trusts would help to boost the number of patients being referred for routine operations within 18 months, improve cancer treatment performance by 29 per cent.  

Charlotte Alldritt, director of the CPP said: ‘The government is under increasing pressure to respond to a health and social care funding crisis. 

‘But the chronic challenges facing the NHS demand more than a short-term cash injection or another five – or even ten – year strategy. 

‘A new approach to health and care is needed that can cope with our ageing population, improve joint working between local government, community services and the NHS.’ 

Ms Alldritt added the public sector needs to embrace technology in health care and increase early interventions with social policy. 

‘Alarming’ trend between financial pressure and health outcomes 

Sir Cyril Chantler, emeritus chairman at UCLPartners Academic Health Science Partnership, added: ‘This new analysis has shown an alarming trend between hospital pressure and financial deficits and below average health outcomes resulting in the 32 risk zones. 

‘We must act now to protect those residing in the risk zones and prevent any more from occurring. 

‘I look forward to continuing to work with CPP on their research and anticipate their suggestions in how we can truly make the health service both high quality and sustainable.’

The CPP has launched a 12-month programme of research alongside senior international leaders from across health, technology and social care, which will lead to recommendations for a sustainable, quality health care system in future.         

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