UK health lacking in European Health League table
Research published in the Lancet (the world's leading general medical journal) compared health data compiled over the last 20 years with figures from 18 other countries. Whilst life expectancy has risen by 4 years
since 1990, the UK is lagging behind other countries. It states that the UK needs to increase its strategies for tackling preventable problems
such as heart disease and stroke. A new division of the Department of Health, ‘Public Health England’, which will come into force in April 2013, advised that the report was a wake-up call.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, is to address the gap by announcing plans which aim to cut the death toll
caused by the UK’S 5 avoidable big killers
, cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory and liver disease, and aims to slash the premature death rate
by 30,000 by the year 2020.
Chris Murray from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has advised that all of the leading causes in reducing life expectancy were linked to avoidable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and obesity
Progress is being made on conditions such as diabetes. Even though diabetes is the UK's second most common cause of lower limb amputation primarily because there is a failure to offer any kind of specialist care
, the UK appears to be ahead of many of its European countries and other high income countries like to the US and Canada.
Edmund Jessop from the UK Faculty of public Health in London advised in an accompanying editorial in the lancet that the UK had done very well in many areas of public health and it had stronger tobacco control
than any other country in Europe.
It would appear that whilst we have achieved success in certain areas of health reform there is still a long way to go help people in the UK achieve health levels
which are already enjoyed by some other European countries.
There are a number of known risks associated with smoking, high blood pressure and obesity, and whilst the government and healthcare professionals have raised public awareness of this in recent years through various campaigns, it is still the case that many complications are simply not recognised or acted upon quickly enough
by those same health care professionals.
There may be a failure to recognise symptoms
that are consistent with a stroke and commence immediate anticoagulation therapy. There may be a failure to carry out routine tests
such as blood tests or scanning, or even a failure to interpret those tests.
Such an avoidable failure
can lead to permanent physical and cognitive impairment for which extensive care may be needed for life.