30% in deprived areas use NHS emergency services due to lack of GP access

Poverty not only takes a significant toll on people’s health but also leads to additional costs for the National Health Service (NHS). Rise in deep poverty,
cost-of-living crisis, and high pressure on NHS services have worsened the situation, according to a study published by The King’s Fund this week.

The report underscored that poverty and deprivation contribute to a greater prevalence of diseases, difficulties in accessing health care, late or delayed
treatment, and worse health outcomes. These challenges could be seen across various NHS services, spanning from emergency care to dental services

Additionally, it revealed that 30 per cent of people living in the most deprived areas have turned to 999, 111, A&E or a walk-in centre because they could not
access a GP appointment.

In 2016, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) estimated the cost of poverty on health care at £29 billion (£34 billion in current prices). As the proportion of
people living in deep poverty has risen, the situation has worsened. In 2021/22, six million people were living in very deep poverty, up from 4.5 million two
decades ago. Currently, more than one in five people in the UK are estimated to be living in poverty, the report noted.

Deprivation is linked to a range of diet-related health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as mental illness. According to the
report, the depression rate is two times higher among people living in the most deprived areas, compared to the least deprived areas.