Public Health England has released a report forming a health profile of people in England and expectations for the future.
The Health Profile for England report covers life expectancy; major causes of death; mortality trends; child health; inequality in health; wider determinants of health; and current health protection issues. This data will help to inform and shape the NHS long-term plan.
Health Profile for England includes data on:
- Population change and life expectancy.
- Trends in mortality.
- Trends in morbidity and risk factors.
- Health of children in the early years.
- Inequality in health.
- Wider determinants of health.
- Current and emerging health protection issues.
A major theme of the Health Profile for England report is future trends in health, which will aid policymakers to prioritise efforts to prevent ill health not just deal with the consequences.
The report has found that:
- The number of people aged 85 years has more than tripled since the 1970s and will include more than 2 million people by 2031.
- The number of people dying from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may overtake that of heart disease as early as 2020.
- The number of people with diabetes is expected to increase – from just under 4 million people in 2017 to almost 5 million in 2035.
- In the last seven years, smoking has dropped by a quarter to 15% and as little as 10% of the population could still be smoking by 2023.
The report also provides details on the nation’s current health position:
- Women’s health in the UK is faring worse than some European counterparts, ranked 18th lowest out of 28 EU member states for premature death. UK men are ranked 10th.
- Hearing and sight loss rank highly for men and women as causes of morbidity.
- While most causes of morbidity become more prevalent with age, mental health issues and substance use are more likely to affect younger adults.
Duncan Selbie, Chief Wxecutive at Public Health England, said, 'Inequalities in health undermine not only the health of the people but also our economy.
As we work to develop the NHS long term plan, we must set the ambition high. If done right, with prevention as its centrepiece, the payoff of a healthier society and more sustainable NHS will be huge.'
Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, said, 'More of us are living longer with painful or disabling conditions, including musculoskeletal problems, skin conditions and sensory loss. While these illnesses often attract less attention than causes of early death such as heart disease and cancer, they have a profound effect on the day to day lives of many people and together they place significant pressure on the NHS...good public health is not defined by health policy alone – a high-quality education, a well-designed and warm home, a good job and a community to belong to are just as important.'
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, has responded to the report, saying, 'This increase in the number of people living to a ripe old age can be viewed as a public health success story. However, although populations are living longer, many of these additional years are not spent in good health or free from disability. Over 4 million (or 40%) of people in the UK over the age of 65 have a limiting long-term health condition. This includes diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer and dementia.
'Early intervention and prevention work by councils is vital to improve the public’s health. Not only does it reduce the risk of people having their lives shortened by conditions such as heart and liver disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, but it also keeps the pressure off the NHS and adult social care.
'...We ask the Government to reverse reductions to councils’ public health budgets and give local authorities more funding to further this cost-effective work. Any extra funding for the NHS should also include public health funding for councils as the two are so intrinsically linked.'