Commenting on the publication of A covenant for health: policies and partnerships to improve our national health in 5 to 10 years, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:
‘The health of the nation is in bad shape. Whether looking at life expectancy, levels of chronic ill health, inequalities, mental health or the drivers of poor health like obesity, England’s recent record is poor and often compares badly to our neighbours.
‘Apart from the obvious fact that no-one wants to be ill or to die prematurely, this state of affairs weighs heavily on the economy and the Exchequer, whether in terms of higher treatment costs, increased welfare payments or the loss of potential staff to ill health at a time when many parts of the economy are facing deep workforce shortages.
‘Tackling this problem is not just a job for the NHS – we cannot treat our way out of a public health crisis. Improving the nation’s health will require urgent cross-government action that encompasses better quality housing, policies to ensure the air we breathe is clean and the use of tax and regulation to encourage healthy behaviours. And beyond national government, local councils, the NHS, businesses and charities all have power to improve the health of their employees, citizens and beneficiaries.
‘England is at risk of drifting into a deeper health crisis and the upcoming general election will be a critical moment for the government to adopt a different approach. I hope political leaders take seriously the measures outlined in this timely new report.’
Notes to editors
The report will be discussed at an event hosted by The King’s Fund on Wednesday 19 July, 8.30 for 9.00–10.30am. Speakers at the event include Daisy Cooper MP (Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and health lead), Lord Markham (Department of Health and Social Care minister) and Kim Leadbeater MP (Labour MP for Batley and Spen).
For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).
The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.