A NURSING union has hit out at the health inequalities between the North and South.
Responding to the latest figures released by Public Health England, the Royal College of Nursing Yorkshire region said it was “very concerned” at the national divide.
Figures show that in Kirklees £55 per head of population is spent on health while in Calderdale the figure is just £51.
That compares with spending of £133 a head in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Glenn Turp, regional director for the RCN Yorkshire and The Humber Region, said: “The RCN is very concerned by the public health funding disparity between the North and South.
“Some parts of our region receive significantly less public health funding per capita compared with the richest parts of the South East.
“Particularly concerning is the enormous gap between Calderdale, which receives only a £51 per head grant, compared to the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which receives £133.”
Mr Turp criticised the Government for calling on local councils to pick up the tab for these “shocking” health inequalities.
He added: “Sadly these problems are set to get worse with the recent health funding changes which significantly disadvantage the North of England.”
Figures for mortality rates also show people in Kirklees and Calderdale are more likely to die earlier than in Southern England.
Calderdale is 117th in the premature mortality table of 150 English councils with 317.4 premature deaths per 100,000. Kirklees fares better at 91st with 296.3 premature deaths.
Areas with the least premature deaths, at just 200 deaths per 100,000, were Wokingham, Richmond upon Thames and Dorset.
Mr Turp added: “This data is extremely worrying.
“It is simply shocking and completely unacceptable that there is still a ‘north-south divide’ over mortality rates.
“Policymakers and the Government must take urgent action to address this appalling inequity, both by introducing robust policies to encourage people to lead more healthy lifestyles but also by ensuring that health and social care funding settlements do not disadvantage the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
“It is simply not acceptable to pass the buck to cash-strapped local councils and NHS trusts who are already struggling to deliver services within centrally imposed budget constraints.”