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Life expectancy in England falls to lowest level in a decade

Life expectancy in England has fallen to its lowest level since 2011, a Public Health England (PHE) report has said. Deaths were 1.4 times higher than expected between 21 March 2020 and 2 July 2021, according to the report’s findings.

The increase, largely driven by the pandemic the report said, resulted in a life expectancy decrease of 1.3 years in males, to 78.7, and a 0.9 year decrease in females, to 82.7 years - the lowest life expectancy since 2011.

Life expectancy inequality is also widening between people in the most and least deprived areas. The gap in male life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas in England is 10.3 years in 2020, which is a year higher than the 2019 level. Similarly for females, this same gap was 8.3 years in 2020, 0.6 years greater than in 2019.

The PHE report said the inequality gap reached its highest since it began recording data on deprivation linked life expectancy over two decades ago.

Its report stated: “This demonstrates that the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities in life expectancy by deprivation.

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Source: The Independent, 16 September 2021


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Military to be called in to help Scottish ambulance crews

The Scottish government has asked the MoD for military assistance for the country's ambulance service.

Nicola Sturgeon said health services were dealing with the most challenging combination of circumstances in their history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opposition politicians have highlighted a series of serious ambulance delays, including one where a man died after a 40-hour wait. They said this should not be happening in Scotland in 2021.

Ms Sturgeon said her government was looking at a range of plans to deal with the significant challenges facing the health services, with the detail of a request for military assistance being considered.

Investigations are ongoing into several cases reported in the media on Thursday, including one where a Glasgow pensioner died after a 40-hour wait for an ambulance.

The Herald newspaper reported that the family of 65-year-old Gerard Brown were told that he could have survived had help arrived sooner.

Mr Brown's GP - who is said to have repeatedly warned 999 call handlers that the patient's status was critical - was quoted as describing the crisis engulfing the Scottish Ambulance Service as being like "third world medicine".

The Scottish Ambulance Service is investigating the circumstances of the case, and said it will be "in contact with Mr Brown's family directly to apologise for the delay".

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Source: BBC News, 16 September 2021

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