FUNDING issues combined with a higher rate of ‘preventable’ deaths have seen Bournemouth named as one of 32 ‘risk zones’ in England in a new report.

The Centre for Progressive Policy’s (CPP) paper, Diagnosis Critical, identifies the areas of the country where the risk of an avoidable death is 29 per cent than in other local authority areas.

Based on NHS trusts’ financial data from 2015/16 and Office for National Statistics life expectancy figures, the report lists Bournemouth alongside only four other areas in the South West – Gloucester, Torbay and Cornwall.

Last year, Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group agreed to controversial plans to transform NHS services across the county in a bid to meet a projected £158m funding shortfall by 2021.

‘Risk zones’ are local authority areas in England where life expectancy is below the national average and which is covered by at least one NHS trust which is running at a deficit.

One-tenth (32 out of 326) of these areas assessed by the CPP fell into the category and have a 29 per cent higher rate of avoidable deaths.

Almost one-fifth (17 per cent) of the population of England live in ‘risk zones’ which are mainly more urbanised areas.

Charlotte Alldritt, CPP director, said: “The government is under increasing pressure to respond to a health and social care funding crisis.

“But the chronic challenges facing the NHS demand more than a short-term cash injection or another five – or even 10 – year strategy.

“A new approach to health and care is needed that can cope with our ageing population, improve joint working between local government, community services and the NHS and take up the opportunities of technology for diagnostics and delivery, and embed health outcomes within a wider, place-based economic and social policy interventions.

“This could imply a radical shift in our expectations of the state – and ourselves as patients and citizens – with huge implications for how we fund and deliver these essential public services.”

The CPP has launched campaign to find ways in to improve the country’s healthcare system.