Public Health England (PHE) has released a report on the current and future state of the nation's health in England.
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The Health Profile for England report contains data and evidence that will help guide long-term plans for the NHS.
The report states that people in England are living longer, with the average life expectancy having reached 79.6 years for men and 83.2 years for women.
Despite advances in life expectancy, most of us will suffer from a disabling condition, with the poorest patients expected to die 19 years earlier than the richest patients.
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.”
John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE
Now, the NHS plans to respond by focusing on the prevention as well as treatment of some of the illnesses that are causing the greatest disease burden, adds Newton.
Some of the main findings published in the report are:
- Since the 1970s, the number of people aged 85 years has tripled and is expected to reach 2 million by 2031
- Death from dementia and Alzheimer’s, which is already the leading cause of death among women, is expected to also become the main cause of death among men
- The incidence of diabetes is likely to increase by one million
- The number of people smoking has fallen by one quarter over the last 7 years and by 2023, only 10% of the population may be smoking
Findings regarding the nation’s health position were:
- The UK is ranks 18th lowest out of 28 EU states for premature death among women and 10th lowest for premature death among men,
- The two leading causes of morbidity among men and women are lower back/neck pain and skin diseases, with hearing loss and vision loss also ranking high,
- Drug use and mental health issues affect younger people the most and are responsible for more than a third of the disease burden seen in those aged 15 to 29 years.
PHE’s chief executive Duncan Selbie says the NHS must set its ambitions high:
If done right, with prevention as its centrepiece, the payoff of a healthier society and more sustainable NHS will be huge.”
This article has been re-written from a government-issued news release.