Heart disease and cancer rates high

THE UK has one of the worst records in Europe for deaths from heart disease and cancer, according to Regional Trends. However, it is one of the safest places to drive.

An analysis of the 70 regions of the European Union shows that the UK has the highest rate of death from heart disease and the second highest rate for cancers. It shares with the Netherlands the lowest rate of road deaths.

On average 528 out of every 100,000 people die from heart disease in the UK. The countries with the lowest rates are France (317), the Netherlands (342) and Spain (346).

Within the UK, the Scots suffer most from heart disease, with a death rate of 597 in 100,000. Next are the north of England (587) and the North-west (585).

Only three German regions - Saarland (612), Bremen (599) and Rheinland-Pfalz (591) - have higher rates. The 'healthiest' place for heart disease, according to the survey, is the Ile de France, with a rate of 229.

The UK's death rate from cancers, at 277 per 100,000 population, is second only to Denmark (299). The southern Mediterranean countries - Portugal and Spain (174 each) and Greece (186) - have the best records. In the UK, the North has the highest rate (306) and Northern Ireland the lowest (210), followed by the South-east (265).

Nine out of 100,000 people are killed each year in the UK in road accidents, compared with 28 in Portugal and 24 in Luxembourg.

The UK has a poor record on education. Only 81 per cent of people aged 14-18 are in education, compared with 97 per cent in Germany.