Physical disability in adults

There are over 11 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability in the UK. The most commonly-reported impairments are those that affect mobility, lifting or carrying. The Disability Discrimination Act, 2005 definition of a disability (PDF 68 KB) is "someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities". Findings from the English Federation of Disability Sport show that 70% of people with a disability who were surveyed wanted to do more sport and physical activity, with most preferring to do this with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people.

The prevalence of disability rises with age: around 6% of children are disabled, compared to 16% of working-age adults (16-64) and 45% of adults over state pension age in Great Britain. A substantially higher proportion of individuals who live in families with disabled members live in poverty, compared to individuals who live in families where no one is disabled. 19% of individuals in families with at least one disabled member live in relative income poverty, on a 'before housing costs' basis, compared to 15% of individuals in families with no disabled member. 21% of children in families with at least one disabled member are in poverty, a significantly higher proportion than the 16% of children in families with no disabled member (Office for Disability Issues, HM Government, 2012).

In Lancashire-12 there are an estimated 56,818 adults aged 18-64 living with a moderate physical disability and 17,013 with a serious disability (2017). The figures for Lancashire-14 are 70,397 (moderate) and 21,096 (serious). If prevalence stays the same and the population changes as predicted by the Office for National Statistics, these figures will decrease by around 7% in Lancashire-12 and Lancashire-14 for both moderate and serious physical disabilities by 2035.

Hearing impairment

There are more than eleven million people in the UK - or one in six - with some form of hearing loss. From the total, over 5.2 million are aged between 17 and 69 and 5.7 million are 70+. By 2035, it is estimated that there will be 15.6 million people with hearing loss in the UK. More than 70% of over 70-year-olds and 42% of over 50-year-olds have some form of hearing loss. (Hearing Matters 2015 - Action on Hearing Loss).

Data from Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information (PANSI) (XLSX 48 KB) show in 2017 an estimated 239,730 people (18+) in Lancashire-12 had a some or severe hearing loss. This is predicted to rise to 312,856 by 2035, an increase of 30.5%. Data from Action on Hearing Loss provides estimates of hearing loss at clinical commissioning group level (2014). NHS Fylde & Wyre has the highest percentage of people with hearing loss (23.1%), compared to NHS Blackburn with Darwen (14.3%). The table below has further details. 

Clinical commissioning group No. with hearing loss % with hearing loss
NHS Blackburn with Darwen  21,000 14.3%
NHS Blackpool  26,500 18.9%
NHS Chorley and South Ribble  30,000 17.6%
NHS East Lancashire  65,000 17.4%
NHS Fylde & Wyre  38,500 23.1%
NHS Greater Preston  33,000 16.3%
NHS Lancashire North  30,000 18.7%
NHS West Lancashire  21,500 19.2%
Lancashire-14 266,000 18.1%
England 9,235,000 17.0%

Source: Action on Hearing Loss, based on 2014 population estimates

Visual impairment

Over two million people in the UK are living with sight loss, which equates to almost one person in thirty. Key statistics from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) show:

  • One in five people aged 75 and over are living with sight loss.
  • One in two people aged 90 and over are living with sight loss.
  • People from black and minority ethnic communities are at greater risk of some of the leading causes of sight loss.
  • Adults with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to be blind or partially sighted than the general population. 

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Other significant causes of sight loss are glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Sight loss affects people of all ages, but older people are more likely to experience sight loss. This number will increase due to the rise in the ageing population. Additionally, there is a growing incidence in key underlying causes of sight loss, such as obesity and diabetes. This means that, without action, the number of people with sight problems in the UK is likely to increase dramatically over the next 25 years.

Data from the RNIB indicates 39,930 people are living with some degree of sight loss in Lancashire-12. Of these 25,700 are living with mild sight loss, 8,930 are living with moderate sight loss and 5,330 are living with severe sight loss (2016). By 2030 the figure for severe sight loss is estimated to be 7,470, an increase of 40.2%.

The PANSI website provides estimates of visual impairment (XLSX 29 KB) down to lower tier local authority level for several different adult age bandings. The latest estimates show that there are predicted to be over 22,000 adults (aged 18+) in Lancashire-12 with a visual impairment.

For details around musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, please see our MSK page. 

Further analysis and data

Moderate and serious physical disability estimates Lancashire-14, 2017 to 2035 (XLSX 22 KB)

Hearing impairments Lancashire-14, 2017 to 2035 (XLSX 48 KB)

Visual impairments Lancashire-14, 2017 to 2035 (XLSX 29 KB)

Sight loss data tool kit (RNIB) (XLS 5.5 MB) 

Page updated September 2018