Prof Sir Michael Marmot says public health equity must be government post-pandemic priority

The future of the NHS and UK care sector and the threat of privatisation was debated in the latest NPC Annual Convention webinar on Monday, 21 June, 2021.

World leading leading health expert, Professor Sir Michael Marmot said the government has ‘an opportunity’ to reverse the downward trend of wellbeing and life expectancy in the UK after the tragedy of the pandemic.

In the latest National Pensioners’ Convention virtual Annual Convention session, the Professor said the upward trend of life expectancy in UK stopped, and in many cases went into reverse between 2010 and 2020.

The adviser to the Director General of the World Health Organisation, said his Marmot Reviews of 2010 – which he revisited post-pandemic in 2020 - show the UK’s public health is in decline at a much greater rate than that of other western countries. And that this is largely down to decreased investment and emphasis on good public health, and was a contributing factor in the pandemic tragedy in the UK. He also told the online audience that ‘structural racism’ in the way Black Asian Minority Ethnic people receive treatment and public health messages is also a major factor in the decline, and was particularly so during the pandemic.

Professor Marmot told the NPC webinar: “The state of Britain’s health is terrible – in my ten -year Marmot Review of the state of Britain’s health, life expectancy slowed and almost ground to a halt after years of going up.

“Why, pre-pandemic did we have the slowest improvement of any rich country except the US and Iceland. And why was our health so bad coming into the pandemic?”

He felt ‘structural racism’ has also been a factor in the pandemic, with proportionally many more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people dying from Covid 19

He said; “Pandemics expose the underlying inequalities in society and amplify them, and that is what this pandemic did.

“Thinking about the tragedy that happened in care homes during the pandemic we need to put equity and well-being at the heart of all government policy.”