Public Health Annual Report – Health Inequalities in Milton Keynes

This report provides an overview of the main factors impacting on health inequalities in Milton Keynes and also recognises the impact of the wider determinants of health, such as employment, housing and education. There are many other important areas of health inequalities which are outside the scope of this report, including those that occur between gender, socioeconomic status and ethnicity and within specific areas of health such as mental health and sexual health.

 The key findings of this report are:

 There are clear health inequalities in Milton Keynes.

  • The three ‘big killers’ which have the greatest impact on overall life expectancy are circulatory diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases. These are also the three most significant diseases contributing to the inequality in life expectancy at birth across our communities in Milton Keynes.
  • Local mortality data show that those living in the most deprived quintile of Milton Keynes suffer a higher burden of deaths from alcoholic liver disease (34%) and national data shows that this risk increases with increasing deprivation scores.
  • Another measure used to assess inequality is ‘years of life lost’. There are clear inequalities across MK, evidenced by those living in the most deprived quintile experiencing disproportionately higher levels of years of life lost (YLL) as a result of all of the five top causes of death in MK, with the exception of breast cancer, which caused an equal proportion of YLL.
  • Smoking is the single, biggest cause of health inequalities because smoking increases risk of developing many diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases.
  • There are profound inequalities in levels of childhood obesity with a clear relationship between deprivation and childhood obesity seen across England where prevalence of obesity in the most deprived decile is approximately twice that of the prevalence in least deprived.This inequality is likely to be reflected across MK, although the small numbers at local level make this difficult to show clearly.
  • Adult excess weight in Milton Keynes (72.5%) is the highest in the South Midlands and Hertfordshire area and statistically significantly higher than England (63.8).
  • There is a very high level of inequality in deaths under the age of 18 years due to accidents. The comparisons show that the most deprived 20% of our population experience 29% of the overall deaths in children under the age of 18 and 67% of deaths from accidents. There are significant inequalities in the rate of teenage pregnancies (aged 1517 years). During the years 20102012, the rate was 43 per 1000 in the 20% most deprived areas compared to a rate of 18.6 per 1000 in all other areas of Milton Keynes with 42.7% of all teenage pregnancies occurring in the 20% most deprived population.
  • Using a proxy marker for deprivation (eligibility for free school meals), an analysis of the difference in early years attainment in Milton Keynes shows that 48% of children eligible for free school meals attained the expected standard compared to 64% in children who are not eligible for free school meals. This inequality is also evident in the analysis of the Key stage 4 data (age 16) where 26% of children eligible for free school meals attained five or more A*C grade GCSEs (including English and Mathematics) compared to 64% in children not eligible for free school meals. This disadvantage was also more pronounced in males.
  • The number and proportion of family homelessness in Milton Keynes has increased in each of the last three years from 236 in 2010/11 to 364 in 2013/42 and the proportion has been significantly higher than the national average over this period.
  • The proportion of young people (1619 year olds) in Milton Keynes who are not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in 2014 was 3.9% compared to 4.2% in the South East and 4.7% in England.
  • Milton Keynes has the seventh lowest level of fuel poverty in England. Those living in the most deprived quintile of Milton Keynes experience disproportionately higher levels of fuel poverty (9%) compared to the rest of the population (5.6%).


Publisher: Milton Keynes Council

Date: September 2015