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Plans launched to reduce avoidable mortality

Report builds on last year’s ‘Call to Action’

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Department of Health has set out its plans to reduce levels of avoidable mortality.

Its new report: Living Well for Longer: National Support for Local Action to Reduce Premature Avoidable Mortality explains how the national system as a whole is supporting local action to help people live well for longer. 

It includes actions already taken in prevention, early diagnosis and treatment and focuses on the five big killers: cancer, stroke, heart disease, lung disease and liver disease. It includes examples of good practice and help for local commissioning and service delivery.

The report builds on last year’s ‘Call to Action’ in which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt set out his ambition to prevent early and avoidable deaths on “an unprecedented scale - equivalent to an additional 30,000 lives saved per year by the year 2020”. 

Living Well for Longer is designed as a resource document and provides a national road map of the actions to be taken across the health spectrum. The publication includes weblinks to the tools and resources published by Public Health England, NHS England, the Department of Health, other government departments and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. In addition it includes a whole delivery plan for 2014/15 collating specific actions NHS England, PHE and DH will take to reduce premature mortality. 

The report has been welcomed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 

Its president Professor Dame Sue Bailey: said: “We greatly welcome this new strategy and its recognition that people with mental health problems have a higher risk of developing life-threatening physical health problems and that people with serious mental illness will on average die 20 years sooner than the general population. It is also right in saying that stigma, and the discrimination this can lead to, makes these problems worse.  

“The College has been working hard to highlight the need for action to make this inequality a thing of the past. These new measures – more support for people with mental health problems to give up smoking, the special inquiry into their use of cancer screening, and the new national CQUIN payment for improving the physical healthcare of patients in mental health settings – are hugely important.

“However, it will take time and long-term commitment to realise and sustain the changes that are needed at national and local level.”

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