Progress in improving national health could ‘grind to a halt’

According to localgov.co.uk, The King’s Fund’s new report outlines a vision for the future that could stop the UK’s improving national health from stalling

The King’s Fund has stated that the UK government must restore councils’ public health grants – otherwise, progress in improving the nation’s health could ‘grind to a halt’.

Council spending on public health services per-head is expected to fall by just under a quarter (in real terms) between 2014/15 and 2019/20.

The King’s Fund is now warning that steadily-improving public health can no onger be taken for granted, and that these cuts in funding are bound to have a detrimental impact on the nation at large.

It also warns that the ‘yawning gap in health outcomes between rich and poor areas is widening again’.

David Buck, senior fellow at The King’s Fund, said: “After a century of improving health, progress on key outcomes are grinding to a halt. Life expectancy is stalling, our health outcomes are mediocre compared with similar countries and health inequalities are widening. A new vision for the population’s health is needed.”

BMA public health committee chair, Dr Peter English, celebrated the report, saying:

“We welcome this report and support calls for a comprehensive approach that tackles the underlying social and domestic drivers of ill health for so many people.

“The BMA has long been calling for the government to make the population’s health a priority by investing in services to reduce smoking, alcohol consumption and those which promote physical activity and a better diet. Failure to focus on prevention can cost people their lives.

“The King’s Fund report rightly highlights the need to reduce health inequalities.  People living in the most deprived areas are too often subject to a higher prevalence of preventable illnesses. It is vital therefore that the wider societal factors that influence people’s health behaviours are addressed.

“We need to see greater provision of services in communities that can positively impact a person’s health and wellbeing such as youth clubs and green spaces. ​

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“While the recent pledge from the health secretary outlining his future vision for healthcare prevention is a positive step, significant investment will be needed to fund the ambitious action required to reduce inequalities and improve prevention.”

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