Monday, 11 September 2017

Britain is no longer a country, but Europe is a Continent, where old men live longer and longer.

Sir Michael Marmot, who is the Director of the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, is calling for the Government to make an immediate investigation into why a century of lengthening lives for old man and women in Britain has come to an end ? He raised the alarm in July over static life expectancies, pointing out that until 2010 old Britons were gaining a year of life every four years, but since then the rise had almost ground to a halt.

Could this be because life expectancy was nearing its natural limit ? Sir Michael, the author of a Government-ordered Report on 'Health Inequality' thinks not. He compared progress in Britain with that of other European countries, many of which already have longer life expectancies and found that the gap was getting wider, with growth in female life expectancy at birth the worst in Europe and male growth the second worst, according to the EU statistics body Eurostat.

Increase in life expectancy for old men from 2011 to 2015 in %
( actual life expectancy in years )

Writing in 'The Times' today, Sir Michael has warned : “Were this to keep up, we would soon become the sick man and woman of Europe. This is a new and worrying trend” and has written to Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, urging him to set up an inquiry into the slowdown. He said that “austerity is an obvious candidate”, with health and social care spending under pressure and real wage growth slower in Britain than in
any other country except Greece. He concedes, however, that there are clear counter-arguments. Many countries that cut health spending far deeper, including Spain, Portugal and Greece, are still doing better than Britain. Germany, which has been relatively unscathed by the economic downturn, is the only country where life expectancy has also stalled, but it should be borne in mind that it “had a major issue in incorporating East Germany where health was much worse.” He believes that : “It’s not going to be as simple as austerity leads to worse health. Greece has always stood out as a country with remarkably long life expectancy despite being relatively poor. It may be the diet in Greece.” 

Shirley Cramer, Chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health said : “When respected authorities such as Sir Michael Marmot raise the alarm about stalling life expectancy, the government needs to take notice. He is right to say this is an issue of more urgency than a winter bed crisis.”

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Britain is a country where most old men can no longer expect to live longer and longer

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