Health challenges in Southwark​


Southwark is a densely populated, geographically small inner London borough. Our population is relatively young, ethnically diverse, with significant differences in poverty and wealth. There is wide distribution in educational achievement, access to employment and housing quality.

The challenges we face


Estimated at 285,600, Southwark is London’s second largest inner borough. This increased by 37,700 over the last 10 years and is estimated to increase by 37,500 between 2010 and 2020.

A major challenge in improving the health of the population is that a significant proportion of Southwark live in the borough only for a short time before moving on. The proportion of people leaving the borough was estimated as being between 16- 28% in 2009/10. Turnover is highest in the most deprived areas – Peckham, Camberwell, and Walworth.

Southwark health and life expectancy

We know that last year 625 people under the age of 75 died in Southwark. The main causes of this early death or 'premature mortality' were heart disease, lung conditions and cancer. Major health indicators such as mortality and life expectancy have improved, but there are significant inequalities for people living in more deprived parts of the borough.

Women in Southwark can expect to live for 83 years and men for 78 years. Despite improvement there is still a significant gap in life expectancy between the best and worst-off areas, for both men and women. The difference in life expectancy between men from the wealthiest parts of Southwark and men from the poorest areas is just over 10 years. This has increased by 3 years from a decade ago.

Health of children

The number of children under age one who die each year in Southwark, while falling, is still one of the highest in London.

In 2012, 43% of year 6 children were classified as either overweight or obese. This level is the highest in the country.

Long term conditions

Long term illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and breathing problems affect a large percentage of the population on Southwark. We suspect that around 60,000 people have at least one long-term condition and up to half of them are not aware of their condition.

You can read more about life expectancy and health in Southwark in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

CCG goals in Southwark

We have developed detailed plans outlining how we plan to accomplish our aims and have identified three main ambitions that we would like to achieve.

  1. Reduce the number of early deaths (premature mortality) in Southwark.
  2. Narrow the health divide between the richest and poorest in the borough.
  3. Provide more consistent, high-quality services across Southwark.