Trends in healthy life expectancy in the age of austerity

Walsh, D. , Wyper, G. M.A. and McCartney, G. (2022) Trends in healthy life expectancy in the age of austerity. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 76(8), pp. 743-745. (doi: 10.1136/jech-2022-219011) (PMID:35667853) (PMCID:PMC9279837)

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Background: Worrying changes in life expectancy trends have been observed recently in the UK, largely attributed to austerity policies introduced over the last decade. To incorporate changes to quality, rather than just length of, life, our aim was to describe trends in healthy life expectancy (HLE) for the relevant period. Methods: In the absence of available long-term trends, we calculated new estimates of HLE for Scotland for the period 1995–2019, using standard HLE methodologies based on mortality and national survey data, and stratified by sex and socioeconomic deprivation. Results: Overall, male and female HLE increased markedly between 1995 and 2009, but then decreased by approximately 2 years between 2011 and 2019. A decline was observed for the most and least deprived groups, but this was larger for those living in the 20% most deprived areas, where the decrease was 3.5 years. Conclusions: Our findings are further evidence of changing levels of pre-pandemic population health in the UK. An increasing body of UK and international evidence have attributed these changes to UK Government austerity policies. There is an urgent need, therefore, to reverse cuts to social security and protect the income and health of the poorest across all of the UK.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McCartney, Professor Gerard and Wyper, Dr Grant and Walsh, Dr David
Authors: Walsh, D., Wyper, G. M.A., and McCartney, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:06 June 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 76(8):743-745
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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