The Barling and Sutton Life Expectancy Mystery

Last month we pointed out that according to offical figures , life expectancy in Barling and Sutton Ward is significantly lower than the average for England. This is the only ward in our district for which this is true.

So Chris submitted a written question to the council asking for likely explanations. The response was as follows . It’s a little puzzling because it talks a bout people who have lived long times – maybe we just don’t understand how life expectancy figures are calculated:

In 2005/6 there were 30 deaths recorded for residents of Barling Ward, fourteen of which were residents of a care home. Mortality in these cases was primarily due to age related causes and the residents in question had all reached an advanced age, ranging from 81 to 105.

Of the 16 other deaths that were recorded to other residents the majority were also to older people over the age of 70 (including a number over 90 years old). The causes of death were unexceptional and indicate that quality of life is good in this Ward and risk factors low in terms of major chronic diseases.

According to 2001 census results 17.3% people in the ward were classified as having a limiting long term illness ? although this is above the Rochford DC average of 15.8% the effect of having a nursing home located in the Ward should be borne in mind. This proportion is still below the national average of 17.9%.

In terms of life expectancy it should also be noted that Barling Ward is classified as being in the top fifth of wards in England that have the highest proportion of people aged 65 or over who were resident in medical and care establishments at the time of the 2001 census. No other ward in Rochford has been classified as being in this quintile and clearly this has an affect on the overall life expectancy outcomes.