Figures published by the Scottish Public Health Observatory reveal a disturbing picture of life in North Ayrshire.
In addition to having Scotland’s highest unemployment, the Health and Wellbeing Profile for North Ayrshire has found the percentage of the population who are of working age is below the average for Scotland, indicating more and more local people are moving away from the area. The percentage of those over the age of 65 in North Ayrshire is above the national average.
With regards to life-expectancy, ‘all-cause mortality’ affecting all age groups, and mortality rates from coronary heart disease in those under the age of 75 are all ‘significantly worse’ than for Scotland as a whole.
The report indicates around 31 per cent of North Ayrshire adults smoke, compared to 25 per cent across Scotland, while the proportion of the population hospitalised for alcohol conditions is ‘significantly worse’ than the national average. The same finding relates to the numbers of local people hospitalised for drug-related conditions.
Compared to Scotland as a whole, ‘significantly more’ adults in North Ayrshire claim some form of incapacity benefit or severe disability allowance. The local area also has a ‘significantly higher’ than average percentage of people living in income-deprived areas and performs ‘significantly worse’ in terms of all economic indicators.
In addition, the Public Health Observatory investigation found levels of crime and the proportion of the North Ayrshire population in prison are above the Scottish average, with an estimated
670 people hospitalised last year following assaults, a rate ‘significantly above’ the average figure for Scotland.
The percentage of the local population living within 500 metres of a derelict site is ‘significantly worse’ than the Scottish level, whilst 18.5 per cent of the North Ayrshire public live within the 15 per cent ‘most access deprived’ areas in Scotland.