IHE’s response to Government announcement on prevention and life expectancy Institute of Health Equity

Responding to Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement today, 5 November 2018, for a green paper entitled “Prevention is better than cure’ outlining the new vision for the ‘new 21st century focus on prevention’, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity said:

‘Matt Hancock’s focus on prevention and the life expectancy crisis is very welcome. The public health community has been drawing attention to the fact that life expectancy has stopped improving in England and is falling in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and health inequalities are widening.

However, all the work that has been done on life expectancy suggests this will not be solved within the healthcare system alone, or simply putting emphasis on health behaviours. There’s a great deal the NHS can do on prevention and addressing the root causes of ill health (social determinants of health) as our recent report ‘Reducing health inequalities through new models of care’ highlights.

If we are to increase life expectancy action needs to be taken on the SDH such as comprehensive early years education; adequate warm housing for everyone; access to quality primary and secondary education for all children; fair and decent work; and dignity as we age.”