Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) consists of both urban and semi-rural areas, covering almost 9,179 square kilometres.
The LHD is responsible for providing primary and secondary health care for people living in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith local government areas (LGAs) and tertiary care to residents of the Greater Western Region.
The estimated resident population of NBMLHD in 2011 is 345,564 which includes an Aboriginal community (2.6%). The Dharug, Gundungurra and Wiradjuri people are acknowledged as the traditional owners of the land covered by the LHD. The number of people identifying as Indigenous in the 2006 Census has been increasing in recent years and is estimated to be 8,825 in 2011, although this is widely regarded as an underestimate. The largest Aboriginal community resides in Penrith. The Aboriginal population is younger than the wider NBMLHD community with 55.6% under 25 years of age.
Based on the Socio-Economic Indexes for Area (SEIFA) 2006, Index of Socio-economic Disadvantage, NBMLHD has LGAs at both ends of the spectrum. Among the most disadvantaged areas in NSW, scoring well below the 1,000 average, was Lithgow (937), characterised by low income and educational attainment, and high levels of unemployment. At the opposite end scoring over 1,000, which suggests least disadvantage, were the LGAs of the Blue Mountains (1,051), Hawkesbury (1,033) and Penrith (1006).
The largest proportions of pre-school aged children (less than 5 years) in 2011 are in the Penrith (7.9%) and Hawkesbury LGAs (7.5%). At the other end of the spectrum, the LGAs of Lithgow (11.8%) and Blue Mountains (9.7%) have the highest proportions of older residents aged 70 years and over. In the period 2011 to 2021, the proportion of the population aged less than 10 years is expected to remain steady (from 14.1% to 14.2%), while the proportion of older residents will increase from seven to ten per cent.
Life expectancy at birth in the LGAs ranged from 76.2 and 78.6 for men and 81.7 and 82.8 for women. The major causes of death were circulatory diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases and injury and poisoning. A similar pattern existed for premature deaths among residents aged less than 75 years.
The increasing populations of older people foreshadow new and unique challenges in health care planning, service delivery and access to specialised care.
Common health challenges in our region
- A growing population
- Relatively large increases in the number of older people
- High smoking, obesity and stress levels
- Chronic illness is increasing
- 58% of the population are overweight or obese
- High rate of diabetes
- A large urban Aboriginal community with poorer health outcomes than non-Aboriginal people
- Socio-economic inequalities and poorer health outcomes
Wednesday, 27 April 2022 12:21:03 PM