The Health Profile for England report was published in September 2018 and is a comprehensive report covering life expectancy, major causes of death, mortality trends, child health, inequality in health, wider determinants of health and current health protection issues. The data and evidence contained with this plan will be used to help shape the forthcoming NHS long term plan and has been instrumental in the introduction of the newly launched Social Prescribing headed up by Professor Helen Stoke-Lampard (Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners)
The report demonstrates that as a society, people are living longer. Average life expectancy in England is currently 79.6 years for men and 83.2 for women. Research shows that on average every age group is healthier than previous generations. Unfortunately, major disparities persist with more affluent people enjoying an unbelievable 19 additional years in good health than those in the poorest areas.
The aim of this Health Profile for England report is to highlight trends in health and help policymakers to prioritise efforts to actually improve public health, preventing ill health occurring in the first place, rather than focussing on the treatment of illness.
The contents of this report feeds into the NHS 10 year plan.
The Health Profile for England report contains 7 chapters:
- 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
Some of key findings include the following:
- the number of people aged 85 years has more than tripled since the 1970s and is projected to be more than 2 million people by 2031
- the death rate for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is rising fast and is already the leading cause of death in women. It is projected that dementia and Alzheimers will overtake heart disease in men as early as 2020 and will become the overall leading cause of death.
- the number of people with diabetes is expected to increase by a million – from just under 4 million people in 2017 to almost 5 million in 2035
- in the last 7 years, the incidence of smoking has fortunately dropped by a quarter to 15%. It is projected that there will be a further reduction to 10% of the population by 2023
The report also provides a fascinating insight into the nation’s current health position:
- Our health position is horrifying compared with the rest of the EU. UK
- women’s health is ranked 18th lowest out of 28 EU member states for premature death.
- UK men are ranked 10th out of the 28 EU members.
- Low back and neck pain and skin disease (dermatitis, acne and psoriasis) are the 2 leading causes of morbidity for men and women, with hearing and sight loss also ranking highly for both sexes
- While most causes of morbidity become more prevalent with age, mental health problems and substance use is most prevalent in younger adults. Mental health issues account for more than a third of the health conditions experienced by those aged 15 to 29 years.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive 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:
Now in its 70th year, demands on the NHS have changed significantly.
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.
The challenge now is for the NHS to respond to this changing landscape and to focus on preventing as well as treating the conditions which are causing the greatest disease burden across our nation.
Written by Emma Hammett RGN
First Aid for Life aims to support all aspects of healthy living though accident prevention and first aid training. Encouraging people to be more proactive in their approach to risks and helping to reduce the incidence of avoidable accidents that are major contributors to morbidity and mortality. Prompt and appropriate first aid saves lives and can prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. The more people empowered with these skills, the better for the population as a whole.