​Health in Lewisham

Improving health in Lewisham​

Lewisham is an inner London borough with high levels of deprivation, inequalities and unemployment. Our population is relatively young, ethnically diverse and significantly deprived.

As part of our commissioning responsibilities, we have developed detailed plans outlining our approach to improving health outcomes for patients in Lewisham, including:
  • improving the health of local people by delivering high quality health care services
  • reducing the number of early deaths
  • tackling health inequalities by improving management and treatment
  • consistently ensuring value for money.

Population of Lewisham

There are more than 270,000 people living in the area, and this figure is growing.  Lewisham has a young and vibrant population with one in four residents aged under 19 years. 

A major problem in delivering NHS services to this type of population is the high population turnover. It is estimated that as many as 20 per cent of people move in and out of the borough each year, which puts a greater demand on healthcare and makes delivery of services like screening and immunisation challenging.

Local health

We know that there are many health problems in Lewisham, over 30,000 people are estimated to have undiagnosed and therefore untreated high blood pressure. Almost 40,000 people a year experience depression, anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. And 1 in 4 HIV infections are diagnosed late when treatment is less effective.

An ethnically diverse borough

Lewisham is the 15th most ethnically diverse local authority in England and two out of every five people are from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background. The largest BME groups are Black African and Black Caribbean. There are over 170 mother tongue languages spoken by pupils in Lewisham schools. Lewisham is the 31st most deprived of the 326 Local Authorities in England.

Life expectancy

Men and women in Lewisham under the age of 75 are more likely to die prematurely from cancer, circulatory disease and respiratory disease compared with London as a whole. 

Women in Lewisham can expect to live for 81 years and men 76 years. We know that life expectancy in Lewisham is increasing for both groups but there is still considerable variation across the borough.  

Furthe information on health needs in Lewisham is available here.​