As our population continues to age it is more important than ever to look at how more people can live healthy independent lives in later life. There are environmental, social, economic and political factors that can impact public health.
Ensuring more people can enjoy five more years of healthy life expectancy in later life is a major challenge. Government policy will need to adapt to recognise the health and care demands of all generations in our society to make this ambition become a reality. As the Government consults on its prevention strategy, it should recognise the need for better cross-government action and more collaboration with local authorities to tackle regional health inequalities. More progress can also be achieved by embracing new technology and harnessing the value of data far more intelligently to deliver better health outcomes and make progress to achieving increased healthy life expectancy.
Outside the Westminster bubble, HLE+5 will need to think about the divide in health outcomes between deprived and affluent communities, and how society as a whole can close that gap. Poverty is a major public health challenge. If the strategy is going to be successful, it will need to set out a response that addresses the specific health challenges faced by low-income communities to improve the nation’s overall healthy life expectancy in later life. We discuss how legislation might be the route to achieve such increases.
Our response also looks at how we can encourage younger generations to think more positively about the opportunities presented in later life, devolving more power to the regions so that they can take more control of local public health matters and the role of Whitehall to deliver a more coordinated approach to improve life expectancy.
This consultation submission is informed by our own research findings, consideration of new and emerging ideas about our ageing population, and how lifestyle changes in middle age are critical if a healthy later life is going to be achieved.