The King’s Fund response to Public Health England's review of life expectancy

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Commenting on Public Health England’s (PHE) review of recent trends in mortality in England, Dr Veena Raleigh, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:

'Improvements in life expectancy are slowing across the developed world, but the United Kingdom has seen the most significant slowdown of any country apart from the United States. 

'Public Health England's report is a welcome, if somewhat overdue, start to understanding why life expectancy is stalling in England. It paints a complex picture but confirms that a slowdown in improvements in mortality from heart disease and an increase in winter deaths from flu and other respiratory diseases are significant factors.

'It is particularly worrying that life expectancy is falling in more deprived parts of the country, further widening health inequalities between rich and poor areas. It is also very troubling that deaths from causes such as suicide and drug overdoses are rising among young adults.

'After several years of debate, we now have some clear pointers about what is causing life expectancy in England to stall. While further research must continue at pace, action to reverse these worrying trends is urgently needed to avoid the United Kingdom sliding further down international league tables.' 

Notes to editors

For further information, contact Andrew McCracken, Head of Press and Public Affairs, on 020 7307 2594 or 07774 907 960.

In August 2018, The King’s Fund published ‘What is happening to life expectancy in the UK?’

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.