Higher levels of ill-health and disease in deprived areas have been highlighted in Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty’s first annual report.
According to the report, improvements in life expectancy have stalled in recent years, a trend which has also been seen in many major developed countries. While the report states that it is important to acknowledge the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of the nation, the NHS and on wider society in 2020, it focusses on wider long-term health challenges in England.
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‘Although COVID-19 has dominated the news, and remains an urgent priority, other diseases and health problems such as cancer and cardiovascular disease continue to take a major toll,’ said Professor Whitty.
‘I have brought together the latest data for health in England because they highlight major issues to tackle, identify where in the country they are heavily concentrated and trends in health over time.’
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The report also highlights that ill-health and disease is concentrated in areas of deprivation, or where there is a higher proportion of older citizens, and that more action is needed to tackle these longstanding inequalities in health.
‘There is wide variation in ill health across the country, and much of this is avoidable,’ added Professor Whitty.
‘It is possible to raise the health outcomes of the least healthy closer to the outcomes of the healthiest – we should be aiming for that.’