Health Care Isn’t the Key to a Healthy Population
In the UK, National Health Service waiting lists are at record levels. Last winter, the emergency care system collapsed. NHS doctors and nurses are striking. We have a problem not just in recruiting people, but in keeping them. To save the NHS, we have to reduce demand and help the public live healthier lives. To name just one example, in April it was reported that over 5 million people are living with diabetes in the UK. In 2018, the government released a report saying that diabetes is one of the biggest burdens on the NHS, accounting for 9 percent of its overall spend. One in six people in hospitals are diabetic. Two-thirds of UK adults are overweight, a key risk factor for diabetes.
Before the pandemic, the King’s Fund reported that public health spending in the UK was about £3 billion ($3.82 billion), which is 15 percent lower than it was six years before. We absolutely need to increase public health investment again—but more than that, we must consider health in every policy domain.
Consider poverty. About one in five people live in poverty in the UK. Poverty has a…