South of the city, the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark have been our home for centuries
Like many other areas in London, Lambeth and Southwark are vibrant places to live and work and they’re changing all the time. There are around 600,000 people living inside the boroughs’ boundaries. The two areas are densely populated (twice the average in the capital), and have similarly diverse populations – 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, there are areas of great affluence and stark poverty living side by side.
We believe that this combination of urban environment, deprivation and diversity 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 health work is taking place locally. 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.
However, despite positive changes, there are still important areas of deep deprivation and ill health. Some of our local people are not only not catching up – they are worse off: one in four people in Lambeth live in poverty and over a third in Southwark live in the most deprived pockets in England.
There are some big health issues in our boroughs:
- High levels of smoking and drinking, despite recent reductions
- Levels of severe mental health illness are among the highest in England
- High rates 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
- 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 impactMore on Our approach