UK lagging in public health

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce plans today to save 30,000 lives in the coming seven years as new research reveals 'shocking' levels of premature death in comparison with other European and developed countries.

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Plans to save 30,000 lives over next seven years

Jeremy Hunt will today outline plans to save 30,000 lives in the coming seven years, new research has shown that many Britons are dying prematurely due to poor overall health.

Mr Hunt intends to improve outcomes for patients with cardiovascular diseases:

  • More people will be trained to use defibrillators and conduct CPR
  • Relatives of people who have died suddenly of cardiac conditions are to be offered tests to see whether they too are at high risk
  • Mr Hunt also intends to get the whole country to match the performance levels of the top hospitals


UK life expectancy increases to 79.9 years

Life expectancy in the UK increased by 4.2 years from 1990 to 2010, to 79.9 years, according to new research published in the Lancet, however, improvements in the UK compare poorly to other countries.

The best results for the UK are for heart disease mortality - although it is still a top killer, the UK has seen the largest fall in mortality of any of the group of 19 comparable countries in the past twenty years.

'Shocking' health report 'a wake-up call'

New research highlighting Britain's poor public health has been referred to as a "wake up call" by health experts, whilst the health secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain's health performance was "shocking" compared to other countries.

The report found that premature death rates were higher in the UK than other developed nations, with tobacco being named as the biggest individual risk factor for illness and disease in the UK.

The reality is that nearly all of these conditions are either preventable or amenable to early intervention, providing opportunities to make a substantial difference in people's lives, and reduce the tremendous psycho-social and economic burden of poor health on our society.

Ultimately, in order to really make a difference in improving our nation's health, concerted action will be required, with individuals, families, local communities, local councils, the NHS and government all taking responsibility and working together towards a healthier population.

– Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England (PHE)

UK 'worse' for premature death

The UK has a worse record of premature death from many disease than a host of comparable countries, according to a major new health study published in the Lancet today.

The report compared the health of the UK with 14 other EU countries, as well as Australia, Canada, Norway and the United States.

The study found that in the twenty years between 1990 and 2010 the rate of premature death has hardly changed (in comparison with other, improving, health outcomes) for both men and women between 20-54 years. The number of premature deaths has actually increased for some disorders, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Drug-use disorders and alcohol

Compared with all other 18 countries, the UK does worse for premature death for most conditions, and its relative position has dropped since 1990. Across all ages the top causes of premature death are the same as 1990, apart from drug use disorders, which have increased nearly six-fold.

  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Stroke
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Self-harm

UK's public health 'falling behind' other countries

Health experts are warning that Britain is falling behind other comparable countries when it comes to overall public health.

Research has found that Britain has a worse record of premature death from many diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, cirrhosis of the liver and drug use disorders.

A call to improve the overall health of Britons to avoid premature deaths Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce plans today to save 30,000 lives in the coming seven years.

The Government aims to improve outcomes for patients with cardiovascular diseases, by training more people to use defibrillators and conduct CPR.


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