Connect with us

Health

Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years

Austerity

Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years

Austerity cuts to the NHS, public health and social care have killed tens of thousands more people in England than expected, according to the largest study of its kind.

Researchers who analysed the joint impact of cuts to healthcare, public health and social care since 2010 found that even in just the following four years the spending squeeze was linked with 57,550 more deaths than would have been expected. The findings, worse than previously thought, were revealed in the journal BMJ Open.

The research by the University of York also found that a slowdown in life expectancy improvement coincided with the government’s sharp cuts to health and social care funding after David Cameron came to power a decade ago.

“Restrictions on the growth in health and social care expenditure during ‘austerity’ have been associated with tens of thousands more deaths than would have been observed had pre-austerity expenditure growth been sustained,” said Prof Karl Claxton of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.

“Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the slowdown in the rate of improvement in life expectancy in England and Wales since 2010 is attributable to spending constraints in the healthcare and social care sectors.”

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, described the findings as shocking and said they were proof that the government’s austerity drive had deepened health inequalities across the country.

“This is a devastating verdict on a decade of Tory austerity in healthcare,” he said. “The test of ‘levelling up’ will be ministers properly funding social care and public health to now tackle these inequalities.”

Separate research by Imperial College London, published in the Lancet Public Health journal, found life expectancy in many communities in England was falling even before the pandemic.

While life expectancy rose in most places during the first decade of the millennium, from 2010 in some areas it started to decline. By 2014 that deterioration had accelerated, researchers discovered, with life expectancy falling for women in almost one in five communities (18.7%), and for men in one in nine places (11.5%).

The worst-hit areas were typically in urban areas in the north. They include Blackpool, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

Researchers have made various attempts at calculating the true impact of the austerity measures led by Cameron. But the University of York study is the first to jointly analyse the effect of the significant slowdown in NHS, public health and social care spending on death rates in England.

Researchers said real social care spending rose by 2.2% per capita of the population between 2001-02 and 2009-10, but fell by 1.57% between 2010-11 and 2014-15. The loss of social care funding caused 23,662 additional deaths, according to the findings.

Real healthcare spend per capita rose by 3.82% between 2001-02 and 2009-10, but only by 0.41% between 2010-11 and 2014-15. The cuts to healthcare spending between 2010-11 and 2014-15 led to 33,888 extra deaths, the researchers calculated.

In total, the study suggested the constraints on health and social care spending during this period of austerity have been associated with 57,550 more deaths up to 2014 than would have been expected if funding had stayed at pre-2010 levels.

David Finch, an assistant director of healthy lives at the Health Foundation thinktank, said the study showed why ministers must now put health at the “front and centre” of their levelling-up agenda.

Even before Covid, he said, there was “an extremely concerning pattern of stalling life expectancy, particularly in the poorest areas of the country”. The pandemic had “since laid bare the tragic consequences of underlying poor health”, he said.

“As we plan the pandemic recovery, there is an urgent need to ensure that we don’t repeat mistakes made during the recovery from the financial crisis. This includes tackling the backlog of NHS care and fixing social care, but also providing security for the many families that are struggling financially. Policies such as the cut to universal credit run counter to this objective,” Finch said.

“To meet the scale of this challenge, government needs to put improving health at the front and centre of all major policies, including levelling up. This will require action on everything from housing and employment to education and transport.”

Boris Johnson last month pledged a £12bn-a-year cash injection to help the NHS catch up after the pandemic and to overhaul social care. Household budgets will take a hit from next April when employees’ national insurance contributions will rise by 1.25% to pay for the funding boost.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Health

NAFDAC bans sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria.

The agency explained that the ban was due to Butyphenyl Methylpropional, BMHCA, content in the product.

This was contained in a post on the Agency’s X handle on Thursday.

According to the post, the European Union, EU, banned the product due to the risk of harming the reproductive system of users, causing harm to the health of the unborn child, and cause skin sensitization.

“Although this product is not on the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned product”, the agency added.

 

Continue Reading

Health

No outbreak of Lassa fever in any local govt- Kogi Govt

Nigeria identifies three drugs for Lassa fever treatment

Kogi State Government has debunked any outbreak of Lassa fever across the 21 local government areas of the State.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza while reacting to a viral video of an alleged lassa fever outbreak, noted that a student who was admitted to the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja did not die of lassa fever.

According to the Commissioner, it was reported that the student died of hemorrhagic fever.

The Commissioner explained that the deceased student who was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja presented complaints of fever and bleeding from the gum.

He added that the patient was being investigated and managed, while samples were taken and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Abuja, but before the result was released, he had lost his life.

The Commissioner said the result came out to be negative for lassa fever.

In his words, ”the suspected case has turned out to be negative for lassa fever.

“It is not only lassa fever that can make a patient to present bleeding from the gum. Other reasons could include blood dyscrasias and bleeding disorders”.

He advised members of the public to disregard the report as no case of lassa fever has been reported in the state

Continue Reading

Health

UCH workers directed to stop working by 4pm over continuous blackout

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) which is the umbrella body of unions at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo state, has directed all employees of the health institution to commence work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Tuesday, April 2. 

The directive came after the tertiary health institution was disconnected by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) over N495 million debt accrued in over six years.

Addressing newsmen, chairman of JAC, Oludayo Olabampe stated that it is no longer safe to continue to attend to patients under the circumstances. He also said that workers would embark on strike if power is not restored.

He said;

“Workers would now work from 8 am to 4 pm only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation. We held a meeting with the management this morning but the issue is that there is no electricity. So, from today, Tuesday, April 2, we will work until 4 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4 p.m.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4 p.m. and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work, and the dieticians in charge of their food too will not work after 4 p.m. We also gave management another 14-day ultimatum which started counting from March 27, and if after 14 days power is not restored, we will embark on warning strike.”

Commenting on the development, the chief medical director of UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, alleged that IBEDC was billing the hospital as an industry. He stated that the union did not formally notify management before making such a decision.

He said;

“I have not heard about that, if they are going to do that, they should write to management officially, and then the management will respond. There are rules that govern government service, you can’t just decide what hours you work and expect to be paid full-time.

“If they go ahead to do that without informing management officially, management has a way of applying the rules to pay them for the number of hours which they worked. The proper thing is for them to put it in writing because they didn’t write officially to the management before taking the decision.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending