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16,000 deaths due to poverty

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Issue 1723

Cancer scandal

16,000 deaths due to poverty

IF YOU are poor you have a much higher chance of dying from cancer than if you are rich. That’s what the Office of National Statistics said in a report last week which found that people in deprived areas were at greater risk of developing and dying from ten of the main types of cancer.

“There would be around 20,000 fewer cases of cancer and 16,600 fewer deaths from cancer each year in England and Wales if deprived groups had the same level of risk as the most affluent groups,” said Mike Quinn, director of the national cancer intelligence centre.

Cancer is the biggest cause of death in England and Wales, killing 133,000 people every year. Survival rates for 44 types of cancer are only 17 percent in areas of high unemployment and overcrowded housing.

PROFESSIONAL statisticians say the government is not spending enough money to provide decent official statistics in the future. Their conference last week heard that the British government is cutting back.

More PFI won’t help

LABOUR health secretary Alan Milburn said this week that he wants to see PFI “in the whole of the NHS from doctors’ surgeries to social care facilities”. He was opening the bidding for private firms to make a profit from 18 new hospital developments and 16 building projects at existing hospitals. Firms such as Balfour Beatty and Amec are lining up to grab a share of the loot. The push for even more PFI schemes shows why hospital workers in Dudley, who will start a 14-day strike on Monday to stay in the NHS, deserve our support (see page 15 for Dudley story).

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