“The UK is getting poorer and sicker”
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recently published its report, ‘Healthy people, prosperous lives’ on the cost of increasing ill-health in the UK, both on a personal and a national level. The UK has rising rates of death and increasing levels of long-term illness, with many being forced to leave employment due to poor health.
IPPR have estimated that in the five years running up to the pandemic, long-term illness were linked with more than half of 3.3 million exits from paid employment. The report states that experiencing a physical health condition, mental illness, or the long-term physical illness of another household member can lead to a drop in annual earnings of at least £1,200. In 2021, long-term sickness cost the UK economy £43 billion – around 2% of GDP. With households already impacted by the national cost-of-living crisis, the personal and financial toll of ill-health is felt even more keenly.
IPPR are calling on the UK government to introduce a new Health and Prosperity Act, aiming to make the UK the healthiest country in the world and increase healthy life expectancy to at least the UK state retirement age across all regions. Healthy life expectancy, which is the average number of years a person can live in full health, is estimated to be 59.8 years for men and 61.5 years for women in Bristol, which is below the national average. There is a gap in healthy life expectancy of over 16 years between people living in the 10% most deprived and 10% least deprived areas in Bristol.
In the One City Plan, Bristol have set ambitious targets to improve healthy life expectancy and reduce the gap between the most and least deprived areas:
- The gap in healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas of Bristol will be reduced by 20% by 2038.
- We will have significantly reduced the gap in healthy life expectancy between the most deprived and most affluent areas in Bristol by 2045.
- Everyone in Bristol will have the opportunity to live a life in which they are mentally and physically healthy by 2050.
To meet these goals with One City partners, and the health and social care sector, Bristol and our Integrated Care System has developed a shared vision that drives population health, health promotion, and keeping people well and independent for as long as possible. We are currently developing an Integrated Care Strategy that will articulate our vision and priorities for our local health system and how we will deliver it.
One of the key outcomes we want to achieve through collaborative working is to increase population healthy life expectancy across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and narrow the gap between different population groups. At the heart of this strategy is the recognition that inequalities, that impact on the health and wellbeing of some groups of people, must also be addressed.
In the summer, Bristol will take a greater leading role in our Integrated Care System when Councillor Helen Holland, Chair of the One City Health and Wellbeing Board, and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System, becomes Chair of the Integrated Care Partnership.