Rapidly Worsening Public Health recorded across the UK – PSA Blog July 11th

Rapidly Worsening Public Health recorded across the UK – PSA Blog July 11th

Across the UK self-reported health has been progressively declining year on year since 2010 with the fastest falls to the worse recorded levels having been confirmed by official data released in March 2016, but not yet reported until now.

In March 2016 ONS released new well-being data and within their statistical release stated that: “The proportion of people aged 16 and over in the UK who were somewhat, mostly or completely satisfied with their health was lower in the financial year ending 2014 (57.8%) than in the previous year (59.3%). The way in which people view their health is crucial to well-being.” The drop in self-reported health that ONS reported in March 2016 was so rapid that it fell outside the confidence limits established the year before for possible error in the rates being estimates. The most recent figure is not included in the graphs shown in this blog because it is an aggregate statistic, but the new statistic shows that national self-reported health became worse yet again.

No one reported this rise in people saying their health had worsened, at any point from 2012 through to 2016. Perhaps the authorities thought they should not do so most recently because of the referendum campaign underway? Similarly, there was no press release issued by ONS for the news of the huge rise of deaths when the latest mortality data was released on June 23rd. Every previous release of these annual statistics had been accompanied by a press release. A year after the greatest rise in ill health was reported, came the greatest rise in mortality.

By March 2016 it was becoming abundantly clear that deaths in the UK were rising and self-reported health quality had been falling year after year for some time, but as we did not have denominator populations so we could not be sure that these changes were real changes in rates. Now we are sure. This is because of the mid-year population statistics released by ONS on June 23rd which also included new population estimates. As that was the date of the EU referendum view people looked at the figures.

In the light of the referendum result and the interest shown during the referendum debate on NHS health spending, perhaps we ought to consider whether Leave won, not mainly due to fears of others, but because many people, and especially the old, had had enough of their lives becoming rapidly worse as measured though the most important of all the measures of quality of life – health.

Extract from a new PSA blog post: Austerity, Rapidly Worsening Public Health across the UK, and Brexit.