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Negating the gap

Preventing ill health and promoting healthy behaviours

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Life Sciences Connect podcast

Episode #16: Negating the public health gap with Dr Karen Kirkham and Sara Siegel

The fourth report in the future of public health series explores how a concerted focus on prevention and health promotion can help increase healthy life years and reduce health inequalities. However, despite a wealth of evidence that investing in prevention is fundamental to a resilient and sustainable health system, the UK, like most other countries, spends less than five per cent of healthcare funding on preventative services. As scientific knowledge increases and the ability to track and monitor the health status of individuals improves, the impact of failure to invest in prevention will become increasingly evident and difficult to justify to the public.

This report examines the complexities of public health prevention and the challenge of improving prevention and reducing health inequalities. It highlights the need to increase the percentage of funding spent on prevention; focus more on primary prevention, including new models of co-creation; adopt patient activation and self-management tools; and tackle digital exclusion and improve public health literacy. Failure to improve preventative services disproportionately affects people living in more economically disadvantaged areas: this makes prevention a priority goal of social policy.

Effective prevention requires an approach to population health management that is underpinned by the collection and collation of not only health and social care data but also public health data on housing, income levels, and education status, as well as public health’s knowledge of place.


Karen Taylor

Head of the Deloitte UK Centre for Health Solutions

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