We in Newry and Mourne fall within the Southern Health and Social Services Board remit, which also includes the regions of Armagh/Dungannon and Craigavon/Banbridge. The Local Health & Social Care Group, in order to meet needs undertook a survey of needs and how well they are being met.
Most of the facts and figures below offer little comfort to our citizens who come out worst much too often and who figure highest only when negative values are being recorded.
(The following figures are rounded to the nearest whole number)
At March 2004 Newry & Mourne had the highest proportion of unemployed throughout the SHSSB.
At the same time we (N&M) had the highest uptake (within the SHSSB) of Income Support, of Disability Living Allowance, of Job Seekers Allowance and of Attendance Allowance.
At April 2001 we had a higher percentage of lone parent households with dependent children (8% compared with SHSSB’s 7%) and far fewer of these lone parents were in full-time employment (17% compared with NI’s 20%).
We in 2001 had the highest percentage of unfit dwellings (16%) with the N Ireland figure being 10%. Levels of fuel poverty are 31% compared with England‘s 9%. We locally had the highest level of homelessness.
Of N Ireland‘s 26 local authorities, we in Newry & Mourne rank 4th most deprived – and most deprived in the SHSSB. Within Newry & Mourne Crossmaglen ranks as the most deprived area and also, using the individual deprivation indicators, the most deprived in terms of income and employment. In the Education sector, Bessbrook ranks as most deprived and in Health, Camlough.
The number of new cases of all cancers has risen by 3% from 1997-2001. Alarmingly new cases of lung cancer in women has risen by 250% in that brief period. 20% of males and 26% of females suffer from high blood pressure.
The 2001 Census revealed a lower proportion of pupils leaving school here with 5+ GCSEs, compared with SHSSB and with NI as a whole; AND a lower percentage going on to further education.
There are lots of other useful figures in the ‘Population Profile for Newry & Mourne released in their June 2005 leaflet. For example the population age profile shows a sharp drop in the fraction of under 30s compared with the over 30’s. This is storing up problems for the future with less wage-earners supporting through their taxes a higher number of older persons.