13 Feb 2019
Matt Hancock today addressed the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, highlighting the responsibilities of the NHS. Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, Anna Dixon, responds.
Responding to Matt Hancock's speech to IANPHI, Dr Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better said:
The Secretary of State is right to emphasise the importance of prevention across the life course. Currently, at 65 years old we can expect to spend around a decade of our later years in poor health, with increasing numbers of us managing multiple health conditions. This is not inevitable.
The NHS has a vital role to play in preventing ill health and disability, working with partners in local government. Employers can also do much to enable those with health conditions and disability, predominantly older workers, to remain in work and to manage their health effectively. But to shift the dial the government must take bolder action itself to address the causes of ill health.
Inequalities in healthy life expectancy are influenced by wider factors – the environment, our communities, homes and work. They have a huge impact on our health as we age.
We need an ambitious package of measures to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce the gap between rich and poor. The Government must be explicit in the Prevention Green Paper about the measures they will take directly to promote healthy ageing and to enable others – employers, local authorities, communities and charities – to reduce preventable disability and ill health.