We have been working in our place in South London for over 500 years
Like many other areas in London, Lambeth and Southwark are vibrant places to live and work and they are changing all the time. There are around 600,000 people living in the boroughs – roughly the same size as Glasgow or Boston. The two areas are densely populated – twice the average in the capital – and have a rich and complex social and ethnic mix, including large black and LGBT+ communities. Over 100 different languages are spoken here. And, like many other places in the capital, affluence and stark poverty live side by side.
We believe that the urban environment combined with low income plays a big part in local health.
“The context for health within Lambeth and Southwark is incredibly important. People are often struggling to make ends meet. Their health and wellbeing isn’t prioritised in their life. It's much more of a priority to think about being able to pick the kids up from school and to be able to pay the bills at the end of the month.”
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, Chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group
Great work is taking place to improve the health of people living in the boroughs. We have some of the best health and care professionals in the country working in our hospitals and communities, and we’ve seen big improvements over the last 50 years. Life expectancy has increased, while child mortality and teenage pregnancy have declined.
But despite positive changes, some local people are worse off. One in four people in Lambeth live in poverty, while over a third in Southwark live in areas with the highest levels of deprivation in England.
There are some major health issues in our boroughs:
- There are high levels of smoking and drinking, despite recent reductions.
- Severe mental health illness is among the highest in England.
- There is a high rate of sexually transmitted infections.
- More children are obese by the time they start secondary school than in other London boroughs and England as a whole.
- There are a high number of deaths from coronary heart disease.
- Over 19,000 local people live with three or more long-term conditions, often with very poor quality of life and at significant cost to the NHS.
Sources: Public Health England, WHO, ONS, Lambeth and Southwark Expert Reference Group of the Local Care Networks, estimates based on local data on long-term conditions
Our Personal perspectives on urban health and wellbeing report explores the assets and risks in urban, diverse and deprived areasGo to report
More on what working in a particular geography means to us, and how we use it to drive greater impactFind out more