The fact that the life chances of some babies are determined before they are born is a disgrace.
Yet, sadly, it is no longer a surprise.
The position of the North East in relation to the rest of the UK has shown a gradual, inch-by-inch improvement in some areas – employment and education, for instance.
But the health figures make for grim reading. They have done for a long time, through Conservative, Labour and coalition governments.
The North East’s health problems have often been cast as a “legacy” of our industrial past. But, as the coal mines, steelworks and shipyards recede further into history we need to look forward for solutions, not backwards for reasons.
Ultimately, we need to take action across a long front that includes general prosperity, diet and education.
To make progress we clearly need more devolved powers and that is the case we should now be making.