Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:16AM
A protester, an NHS doctor, holds a placard up in front of the Elizabeth Tower, also known as Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament during a march against private companies' involvement in the National Health Service. (file photo)
A protester, an NHS doctor, holds a placard up in front of the Elizabeth Tower, also known as Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament during a march against private companies' involvement in the National Health Service. (file photo)

Figures show that the health gap between the rich and the poor in the UK has increased and now poorer people are more likely to suffer from health-related problems.

According to a report by the Department of Health, inequalities in areas including but not limited to susceptibility to disability and disease as well as premature death are growing.

The report also shows those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case.

The gap has widened since 2010 after narrowing over the previous decade in spite of government pledges to reduce it, shows the data in department’s annual report, published this summer.

In 2010, life expectancy for men living in England’s most disadvantaged areas was 9.1 years less than for those in the wealthiest areas. By 2015, however, the figure had increased to 9.2 years.

Among women, the equivalent gap for the poor also went up over that time, from 6.8 years to 7.1 years.

“It’s shocking that we live in a developed country where inequalities in health are so wide and are getting worse,” David Buck, a senior fellow at the King’s Fund health think tank and a leading expert in public health and health inequalities told The Observer.

“For the poorest in the country this is a double whammy of early death and poorer health while still alive. They are going to die younger and are facing 20 more years of life spent in poor health relative to the richest. This should be a wake-up call to ministers.”

Buck said that the recent data shows ministers and the National Health Service have been unable to take effective measures to end decades-long inequalities.

In a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), adult pay gap between those born into Britain's wealthier families and those from less well-off parents is also widening.

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The IFS estimated that in 2012 a middle-aged man whose parents were among the richest fifth of households earned an average of 88 percent more than those from the poorest families. However, in 2000 the equivalent gap was just 47 percent.