The King's Fund responds to new reports on mortality trends in the UK

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Responding to new reports from The Health Foundation and London School of Economics on mortality trends in the UK, Veena Raleigh, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Helping people to live longer, healthier lives should be a central aim for any government, but life expectancy gains in the United Kingdom have been stalling since 2011. Today’s reports are timely and important, as they provide detailed analyses of mortality and examine some of the potential causes. Many European countries have also seen slowdowns in mortality improvements, but they have been greatest in the UK, which is falling even further behind life expectancy in comparable European countries. Female life expectancy has virtually flatlined since 2011, despite being among the lowest in comparable European countries.   

‘We need a better understanding of the complex causes of stalling life expectancy, including of any commonalities with Europe, but today’s reports add to a body of evidence that shows that action needs to be taken now. Improving life expectancy and reducing health inequalities must be a focus for the new government. Action to stem the slowing improvements in major killer diseases such as cardiovascular disease; reverse the rising death rates in young people; and support the growing number of older people with dementia and other long-term conditions that make them particularly vulnerable would all help to reverse the current trend. More focus is needed on prevention and tackling the risk factors for poor health, and The King’s Fund has called for a cross-government strategy to tackle health inequalities. UK spending on health and social care per capita, and as a proportion of GDP, is lower than in many comparable European countries, and needs to be put on a more realistic footing if we are to achieve comparable health outcomes.’

Notes to editors

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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.