Governments should set aside 10% of health spending for preventive and public measures such as cycle lanes and anti-obesity strategies, a thinktank has said, warning that “political short-termism” over health is making the UK increasingly ill and unequal.
The report by the Tony Blair Institute argues that a centralised NHS model “almost entirely focused on treating sickness” rather than on wider objectives is not only harming people’s health but hampering the economy, with more than 2.5 million people out of the labour market because of long-term ailments.
The report emphasises the human cost as well, noting that the effect of diseases caused or exacerbated by lifestyle means UK life expectancy is stagnating, while men living in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea can now expect to live 27 years longer than their peers in Blackpool, Lancashire.
Along with a coherent central plan, the authors stressed the need for effective localism, with accountable regional bodies working to improve public health, rather than “the existing top-down and reactive approach of the NHS”.
Source: The Guardian, 24 March 2023
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