Healthy on average – yet Wexford and Enniscorthy among WORST in Ireland The Census threw up some interesting results. reports
WEXFORD people are in relatively good health according to the latest census figures – but certain towns in the county reported some of the worst levels of health nationwide.
Last Thursday the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the latest volume of figures from Census 2016.
The profile – Health, Disability and Carers – show that the majority of people in Wexford consider themselves to be in very good or good health.
A total of 87 per cent of people living in the county consider themselves to be in very good or good health. According to the Census 2016 figures 88,401 people in the county which is 59 per cent felt they were in very good health while 28 per cent or 41,917 said they were in good health.
This is more or less on a par with national figures when 87 per cent of the population considered themselves to be in very good (59.4 per cent) or good health (27.6 per cent).
In County Wexford, 2,621 people or 1.8 per cent said their health was bad/very bad which is just above the national and Leinster average which both stand at 1.6 per cent.
However the figures vary greatly across the county.
In Wexford town, a total of 11,099 people said their health was very good. 5,847 reported their health was good, 2,102 said it was fair while 412 said it was bad. 86 people reported that their health was very bad.
The number of people in Wexford town who said they had bad or very bad health is 498 which is 2.5 per cent of the population. This is one of the highest areas of bad health in the country second only to Longford where almost three per cent of people said they had bad or very bad health.
Wexford town and Enniscorthy along with Tullamore and Cavan all had rate of 2.5 per cent.
In Enniscorthy, 6,156 said their health was very good, 3,400 said it was good, 1,227 said it was fair while 231 reported it was bad. Forty-eight people said their health was very bad.
In Gorey 5,625 people said their health was very good; 2,919 reported it was good; 874 reported it was fair; 143 reported it was bad and 23 people said it was very bad. People with bad or very bad health in Gorey represent 1.7 per cent of the town’s population which is marginally below the county average of 1.8 per cent.
In New Ross, 4,297 people said their health was very good; 2,498 reported it was good; 796 reported it was fair; 154 reported it was bad and 24 reported it was very bad. People with bad or very bad health in New Ross represent 2.2 per cent of the town’s population which is above the county average of 1.8 per cent and only slightly lower than the worst rate of health in the county of 2.5 per cent which is experienced in Wexford town and Enniscorthy.
Courtown Harbour fared only slightly better with 2.1 per cent of the population recording bad or very bad health. In Courtown Harbour 1,909 people said their health was very good; 1053 said it was good; 405 reported it was fair; 68 felt it was bad and nine people it was very bad.
1.8 per cent of people in Bunclody-Carrigduff reported they had bad or very bad health which is bang on the county average. In the area 1,142 people said their health was very good; 604 people said it was good; 179 reported it was fair; 32 said it was bad and just four people felt it was very bad.
Finally, in Rosslare 935 people felt their health was very good; 487 felt it was good; 131 reported it was fair; 19 said it was bad and nine people said it was very bad which is the same number as Courtown Harbour. People with bad or very bad health in Rosslare represent 1.7 per cent of the town’s population which is marginally below the county average of 1.8 per cent.
Gorey and Rosslare have the lowest level of bad health in the county standing at 1.7 per cent of the population – but this is still above the national average of 1.6 per cent.
Dr Liam Twomey, a former Fine Gael deputy, said he wasn’t a bit surprised by the CSO findings.
‘A lot of people forget that Wexford isn’t a wealthy county. There is a lot of social deprivation in the county. It is quite clear from these Census results that this social deprivation is very much linked to poor health.
ANY PEOPLE are experiencing poor housing, unemployment, smoking etc and this is all contributing to poor health.
‘We have to focus not just on the actual health service but we also need to ensure we have things like access to jobs, adequate housing and proper services. I wasn’t a bit surprised by the statistics. Some people have the perception that Wexford is a wealthy area but it’s not the case. The social deprivation is quite stark both in urban and rural areas. Poverty and poor housing is being experienced across the board and isn’t confined to a couple of the big towns in the county. ‘When I was a TD it was very easy to see the problems that were out there and that were being experienced because of the social economic problems in Wexford.
‘That’s the reason why the people from Wexford that are elected to the Dail must continue to represent the county as best they can and to fight to additional resources.’
Nationally, 643,131 people, or 13.5 per cent of the population, indicated that they had a disability and the number of carers (people providing regular unpaid help for a friend/ family member) increased by 8,151 (4.4 per cent) to 195,263.
In Wexford the 22,650 people said they had at least one disability making up 15.1 per cent of the county’s population, compared with 13.5 per cent at national level. Of these, 11,172 (49.3 per cent) were male and 11,478 (50.7 per cent) were female.
10,612 people indicated that they had ‘a difficulty with pain, breathing, or any other chronic illness or condition’, while 1,801 indicated they had blindness or a serious visual impairment and 3,809 had deafness or a serious hearing impairment.
This is an increase of almost two per cent on the 2011 figures which showed that 20,134 people or 13.9 per cent of the population in the county had at least one disability.
A total of 6,023 people within the county said that they ‘provided regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability’. This comprises 4 per cent of the county’s population and is an increase of 260 people compared to Census 2011.
Of the carers in the county, 3,738 were female (62.1 per cent) and 2,285 were male (37.9 per cent). There were 109 carers under 15, compared with 124 in 2011.
Carers provided 235,537 hours of care per week, an average of 44.7 hours per carer per week. The total amount of weekly care hours was an increase of 15,040 hours (6.8 per cent) on 2011. However not all carers indicated the number of care hours provided so the figures above relate solely to those who did so.
Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician, said: ‘Census 2016 was the second census in which the Irish public were asked to rate their own health so we can now make comparisons over time.
‘The report also provides detailed data and analysis on those with a disability while also examining changes in relation to carers, looking at issues such as the age and gender profile of carers, the number of carers in each county, and the hours of care provided.’