Regional Differences in Healthcare

By Alex Jackson

It’s necessary to look at the differences in healthcare globally, within a country & within a region. The best way to do any of these is using a case study so below is a case study about the healthcare services in the Wirral, who provides them and how healthcare differs within the Wirral.

A quick bit of background information. The Wirral is located in the north west of England. It’s a peninsula and is separated from the city of Liverpool by the River Mersey and from Wales by the River Dee (or, more specifically, their estuaries). To the north of the Wirral is the Irish Sea. The Wirral itself has several large(ish) towns including Caldy, Hoylake & West Kirby in the west and Wallasey & Birkenhead in the north and east respectively.

Locator map of the Wirral.

The location of the Wirral within the UK.

Map adapted from Nilfanion. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right.

Healthcare in The Wirral

  • The Wirral Primary Care Trust (WPCT) decides on health services needed by the population and secures the continual provision of the services that are needed for the general population. The WPCT provides primary care and services itself and commissions other organisations to provide secondary care. The primary care provided includes doctors, dentists, opticians, pharmacists & health visitors. The WPCT provides over 60 GP surgeries.
  • The Wirral Hospitals Trust is responsible for most major operations and specialist treatments. The only way to gain access to a WHT department is via a referral from a GP or directly through A&E.
  • The Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Trust provides specialist treatment and services for people with mental health issues, learning disabilities and drug & alcohol problems.
  • Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology is an NHS foundation trust. It provides specialist cancer treatment for most of the north west of England.

The Wirral Health Profile

  • The health of people in the Wirral varies greatly both within the area and when compared to the rest of England.
  • Many health statistics are worse than their average throughout England. For example, Wirral’s average life expectancy for men & women is lower than the national average. In addition, the number of people who eat ‘healthy food’ in the Wirral is less than the national average.
  • Conversely, many statistics are also better than the national average’s. The number of adults who smoke cigarettes, for example, is less than the national average. In addition, the number of people who are obese is also lower than the national average.
  • There are inequalities in the Wirral in terms of employment, environmental and deprivation and these inequalities have different effects on the health of people in different areas of the Wirral. People in the north & east of the Wirral, for example, generally have lower health standards due to a more deprived lifestyle. Conversely, people in the west of the Wirral in areas such as Caldy & Hoylake, have better healthcare and longer life expectancies due to a higher standard of living and a (generally) higher income.
  • The Wirral Strategic Partnership has prioritised health inequalities including smoking, alcohol abuse, employment, teenage pregnancies and child obesity.

Health Priorities/Services

The services provided to combat these health inequalities include:

  • Free health clinics.
  • Free activities e.g. Yoga, Salsa dancing, 5-a-side football etc.
  • Free healthy living courses e.g. Healthy cookery lessons, Stop smoking courses etc.
  • Extensive opportunities for leisure through parks, open spaces and the coastline.