Covid-19 lowers life expectancy in UK

Official figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal a concerning trend in the health of people born in England and Wales in recent years. The data shows a decrease in the number of years individuals can expect to live in good health compared to those born over a decade ago. Factors contributing to this decline include the impact of Covid-19, healthcare delays, and an increase in long-term sickness.

Men born in England between 2020 and 2022 can expect to live 9.3 months less in good health than those born between 2011 and 2013, while women can expect to live 1.5 years less. In Wales, the average healthy life expectancy is even lower, with men expected to live 61.1 years in good health and women 60.3 years.

The Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare delays, and the rise in long-term sickness are likely driving forces behind the overall drop in healthy life expectancy. The strain on the U.K.'s healthcare system, especially in catching up on surgery backlogs, is evident in the increasing number of patients waiting for elective procedures.

Furthermore, the data highlights deep social inequalities across the country. A north-south divide is apparent, with the north of England falling behind the south in various measures including wages, public investment, and overall life expectancy. Initiatives like the "Northern Powerhouse" have been established to address these disparities, but substantial divisions still exist.

Veena Raleigh, a senior fellow at health think tank The King's Fund, emphasizes the urgent need for "bolder" action to improve the health outcomes of individuals in England. This should be seen as a crucial investment and a top priority for the government, rather than just another financial demand.

In conclusion, the decline in healthy life expectancy in England and Wales raises concerns about the well-being of the population and the need for comprehensive measures to address the underlying social, healthcare, and economic issues contributing to this trend.


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