Since 2011 improvement in age-standardised mortality rates and life expectancy in England have slowed down considerably, for both males and females. For some age groups and for some parts of England, improvement has stopped altogether, according to the latest report from Public Health England (PHE).
In ‘A review of recent trends in mortality in England’, PHE says inequality in life expectancy has also widened. Since 2010-2012 improvement in life expectancy has been slower in more deprived areas than less deprived areas. In addition, female life expectancy in the most deprived decile areas have actually decreased.
This slowdown in improvement has been seen in the other countries of the United Kingdom, and in other large European Union (EU) countries. However, among the large EU countries, the United Kingdom has had the slowest rate of improvement since 2011.
There was a large increase in the number of deaths in the winters of 2014/2015, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, which coincided with circulation of influenza A (H3N2) subtype. Analysis of 2015 data also shows that hospital admissions for influenza increased at the time as mortality.
While influenza, heart disease and stroke have determined the trend in mortality rates in older adults, rates among younger adults made almost no positive contribution to trends in life expectancy between 2011 and 2016. The cause of death that had the biggest negative impact was accidental poisoning, with a large proportion due to drug misuse.
The report recommends stepping up efforts to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke by addressing the underlying wider determinants of health and by reducing risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and obesity. It says the increase in deaths due to accidental poisoning in younger age groups also needs to be addressed.