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Reducing Preventable Mortality

Volume 559: debated on Tuesday 5 March 2013

Today, I am publishing “Living Well for Longer: A call to action to reduce avoidable premature mortality”. This document focuses attention on premature mortality and challenges the health and care system to do something about it.

Despite the great strides that have been made in improving the health of the nation in recent decades, far too many people are dying too young from diseases that are largely preventable. We want England to be among the best in Europe when it comes to tackling the leading causes of early death, starting with the five big killer diseases—cancer, heart, stroke, respiratory and liver disease. If everyone had access to the best diagnosis and treatment that is already available, we could avoid an extra 30,000 deaths per year by 2020.

Our ambition to reduce our rates of premature mortality to the level of our European peers is ambitious and challenging. Government will play their part but cannot do this alone. It will take concerted action across the health and care system locally and nationally. The call to action therefore poses some challenging questions and is designed to generate open and honest debate, leading to action, to see what more we collectively can do to reduce premature mortality. If we as a country are to tackle the challenge we face, we need to make improvements across the spectrum of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment.

“Living Well for Longer” also sets out actions to drive transparency and accountability. I want every locality in the new system to understand how it compares for health outcomes with similar areas in England and how England compares across Europe. Knowing how well we are doing is critical to driving improvement.

My Department has worked closely with partners across the health and care system, including the statutory and third sector, in developing this call to action. We will bring these partners together over the coming months and years to see how well we are doing in reducing premature mortality, and to see what more we can do together.

We are also publishing today a “Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy”. This strategy will contribute to delivery of improved mortality rates by providing advice to local authority and NHS commissioners and providers about actions in relation to cardiovascular disease that can help deliver our ambition.

Copies of “Living Well for Longer: A call to action to reduce avoidable premature mortality” and of the “Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy” have been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

The documents are also available at: