Health & Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing (December 2019)
(covers ONLY Alcohol, Mental Health and Frailty) 

Key Messages
  • Hospital admissions: There were over 10,000 Wirral hospital admissions related to alcohol use 2017/18 with rates above national average, highest in areas of deprivation and in males

  • Availability: Alcohol is more readily available in the most deprived areas of Wirral, compared to the more affluent areas. This is concerning, as people living in areas of deprivation are already suffering from a range of ill health issues (for alcohol and poorer health in general).

  • Deaths: Mortality (death) rates related to alcohol in Wirral were higher than national and regional rates in 2015-17 with rates their highest in areas of deprivation and in males.

  • Crime: In 2015/16, 22% of all crime costs in Wirral were estimated to be related to alcohol. Anti-social behaviour incidents related to alcohol were most common in the more deprived areas, with peaks in domestic violence linked to periods of increased alcohol consumption.

  • Costs: The economic impacts of alcohol were estimated to cost the borough £131 million.

  • Homelessness: majority of local YMCA residents are in contact with drug and/or alcohol services. Wirral had over double the national rate of benefits claimants for ‘alcoholism’.

  • Children & Families: One in three children referred to social care services in 2016/17 in Wirral had ‘alcohol misuse’ as an identified family factor, nearly double the national rate. Substance misuse (including alcohol) is one of the three issues in the ‘toxic trio’.

  • Inequalities in prevalence: People accessing Employment Support Allowance had high rates of most disorders: one in eight screened positive for bipolar disorder, a third for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and almost half made a suicide attempt at some point.

  • Inequalities in accessing treatment: People living in lower income households were more likely to have requested, but not received mental health treatment.

  • Rates of hospitalisation for self-harm are reducing locally yet increasing nationally: though this remains an issue which is particularly noticeable in younger women.

  • Referrals for young people are increasing: CAMHS reported that there has been a year on year increase in referral rates in those aged 0-18. CAMHS referrals rates were 68% higher in 2017/18 compared to 2012/13, going up 15% through last two financial years.

  • Younger women are a high-risk group for many mental health issues: with high rates of common mental disorders, self-harm, and positive screens for post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.

  • Over half (55%) of all social care users report having anxiety and depression in Wirral. This is a similar picture in England overall, where the figure is also 55%.

  • Frailty presents a huge challenge for both the NHS and social care: Wirral Council Department of Adult Social Care (DASS) are already dealing with increasing proportion of the Wirral population: The proportion of adults supported each month in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and shows there was a 23% increase between April 2017 and March 2019. To illustrate the scale of need, in March 2019, DASS were supporting 22,579 adults or one in 14 (7.0%) of the total adult population of Wirral aged 18+.

  • The number of people living with severe frailty is projected to increase: people living with severe frailty are estimated to comprise around 3% of the population aged 65 and older in England. For moderate frailty it is 12% and 35% for mild frailty. In Wirral, these estimates mean around 35,000 of over 65s are likely to have some level of frailty in 2019, increasing to around 45,000 by 2035.

  • Preventing hospital admissions is key: because hospital admissions are not only a consequence of frailty, they can be a cause of it. Hospital admission itself in a previously independent older person, is a risk factor for increasing dependency in all four activities of daily living. It has been estimated that 10 days of being in a hospital bed for a healthy older people can equate to 10 years of muscle ageing with attendant loss of function.

  • Inequalities in the prevalence of frailty: There are significant inequalities in the prevalence of frailty however, with certain groups such as: women; BAME people; those with an unhealthy lifestyle risk factor at age 50; people with long term conditions, particular those with multiple long term conditions and people of low socioeconomic status all more at risk of becoming frail.

Supporting evidence
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This graphic (below) has been produced by Wirral Intelligence Service and gives an overview of many key headlines, when compared to England, that affect Wirral residents from cradle to grave.

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