Tag Archives: England

Drop in UK suicide rate linked to prevention work in England

The suicide rate in Britain fell by 4.7% last year to the lowest level since 2011, with prevention work in England credited for the drop.

The rate fell in England and Wales, although the rate in Wales is generally more erratic because of its smaller population, but increased slightly in Scotland. Overall there were 10.1 suicides per 100,000 in 2016, compared with 10.6 in the previous 12 months.

It was the third consecutive year in which suicide rates have fallen in Britain as the number registered dropped by 202 or 3.4% to 5,688.

A spokeswoman for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said: “The recent decline in the suicide rate is likely to be due to the suicide prevention work in England by the government, the NHS, charities, the British Transport Police and others.

“The national suicide pevention strategy for England has included work to reduce the risk of suicide in high-risk groups. These include young and middle-aged men, people in the care of mental health services, and those in the criminal justice system.”

The proportion of male suicides was 75% last year, which has remained broadly consistent since the early 1990s. Middle-aged men remain the group at greatest risk.

Citing research by the Samaritans, the ONS says relationship breakdown can contribute to suicide risk, which is greatest among divorced men, who are almost three times more likely to end their lives than men who are married or in a civil partnership.

The suicide rate for males fell by 3.1% to 15.7 per 100,000 males last year, while the rate for females decreased 9.4% to 4.8 per 100,000 after the latter hit a 10-year high in 2015.

Suicide rates
Suicide rates

Inequality is another major risk factor, with people among the most deprived 10% of society more than twice as likely to kill themselves than the least deprived 10%, according to the ONS.

Suicide rates generally fell between 1981 and 2007 before rising again to hit a peak of 11.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2013, although that was still substantially lower than the rates in the 80s and 90s.

The Samaritans chief executive, Ruth Sutherland, welcomed last year’s fall but said the number of deaths was still too high. “Every suicide is a tragedy leaving devastation in its wake,” she said.

“These figures emphasise the urgency with which we as a society need to work together to prevent needless loss of life.”

The charity is campaigning for every area to have an effective suicide plan. The government’s latest progress report on preventing suicide in England, published in January, found that 95% of local authorities “have plans in place or in development”.

Sutherland said: “Suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable, and politicians, employers, health bodies and educators all have a role in identifying and supporting those most at risk.”

The chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Izzi Seccombe, said a commitment was needed to invest in local government to help tackle mental illness and prevent suicide.

“Suicide is preventable, but it needs to be everybody’s business to work together to tackle this tragic loss of life,” she said.

The suicide rate in England dropped from 10.1 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 9.5 last year, a decrease the ONS described as statistically significant. In Wales it fell from 13.0 to 11.8, but in Scotland it rose from 14.0 to 15.0.

The ONS says differences in Scotland’s coroner system and the way that suicides are certified and registered there make comparisons with the rest of Britain inappropriate.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

Drop in UK suicide rate linked to prevention work in England

The UK suicide rate fell by 4.7% last year to the lowest level since 2011, with prevention work in England credited for the drop.

The rate fell in England and Wales – although the rate in Wales is generally more erratic because of its smaller population – but increased slightly in Scotland. Overall there were 10.1 suicides per 100,000 in 2016, compared with 10.6 in the previous 12 months.

It was the third consecutive year in which suicide rates have fallen in Britain as the number of suicides registered dropped by 202 (3.4%) to 5,688.

A spokeswoman for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said: “The recent decline in the suicide rate is likely to be due to the suicide prevention work in England by the government, the NHS, charities, the British Transport Police and others.

“The national suicide pevention strategy for England has included work to reduce the risk of suicide in high-risk groups. These include young and middle-aged men, people in the care of mental health services, and those in the criminal justice system.”

The proportion of male suicides was 75% last year, which has remained broadly consistent since the early 1990s. Middle-aged men remain the group at greatest risk.

Citing research by the Samaritans, the ONS says relationship breakdown can contribute to suicide risk and the greatest risk is among divorced men, who are almost three times more likely to end their lives than men who are married or in a civil partnership.

The suicide rate for males fell by 3.1% to 15.7 per 100,000 males last year, while the rate for females decreased 9.4% to 4.8 per 100,000 females after the latter hit a 10-year high in 2015.

Inequality is another major risk factor, with people among the most deprived 10% of society more than twice as likely to kill themselves than the least deprived 10% of society, according to the ONS.

Suicide rates generally fell between 1981 and 2007 before rising again to hit a peak of 11.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2013, although that was still substantially lower than the rates in the 80s and 90s.

The Samaritans chief executive, Ruth Sutherland, welcomed last year’s fall but said the number of deaths was still too high. “Every suicide is a tragedy leaving devastation in its wake,” she said.

“These figures emphasise the urgency with which we as a society need to work together to prevent needless loss of life.”

The charity is campaigning for every area to have an effective suicide plan. The government’s latest progress report on preventing suicide in England, published in January, found that 95% of local authorities “have plans in place or in development”.

Sutherland said: “Suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable, and politicians, employers, health bodies and educators all have a role in identifying and supporting those most at risk.”

The suicide rate in England dropped from 10.1 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 9.5 last year, a decrease described by the ONS as “statistically significant”. In Wales it fell from 13.0 to 11.8, but in Scotland it rose from 14.0 to 15.0.

The ONS says differences in Scotland’s coroner system and the way that suicides are certified and registered there make comparisons with the rest of Britain inappropriate.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

Drop in UK suicide rate linked to prevention work in England

The UK suicide rate fell by 4.7% last year to the lowest level since 2011, with prevention work in England credited for the drop.

The rate fell in England and Wales – although the rate in Wales is generally more erratic because of its smaller population – but increased slightly in Scotland. Overall there were 10.1 suicides per 100,000 in 2016, compared with 10.6 in the previous 12 months.

It was the third consecutive year in which suicide rates have fallen in Britain as the number of suicides registered dropped by 202 (3.4%) to 5,688.

A spokeswoman for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said: “The recent decline in the suicide rate is likely to be due to the suicide prevention work in England by the government, the NHS, charities, the British Transport Police and others.

“The national suicide pevention strategy for England has included work to reduce the risk of suicide in high-risk groups. These include young and middle-aged men, people in the care of mental health services, and those in the criminal justice system.”

The proportion of male suicides was 75% last year, which has remained broadly consistent since the early 1990s. Middle-aged men remain the group at greatest risk.

Citing research by the Samaritans, the ONS says relationship breakdown can contribute to suicide risk and the greatest risk is among divorced men, who are almost three times more likely to end their lives than men who are married or in a civil partnership.

The suicide rate for males fell by 3.1% to 15.7 per 100,000 males last year, while the rate for females decreased 9.4% to 4.8 per 100,000 females after the latter hit a 10-year high in 2015.

Inequality is another major risk factor, with people among the most deprived 10% of society more than twice as likely to kill themselves than the least deprived 10% of society, according to the ONS.

Suicide rates generally fell between 1981 and 2007 before rising again to hit a peak of 11.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2013, although that was still substantially lower than the rates in the 80s and 90s.

The Samaritans chief executive, Ruth Sutherland, welcomed last year’s fall but said the number of deaths was still too high. “Every suicide is a tragedy leaving devastation in its wake,” she said.

“These figures emphasise the urgency with which we as a society need to work together to prevent needless loss of life.”

The charity is campaigning for every area to have an effective suicide plan. The government’s latest progress report on preventing suicide in England, published in January, found that 95% of local authorities “have plans in place or in development”.

Sutherland said: “Suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable, and politicians, employers, health bodies and educators all have a role in identifying and supporting those most at risk.”

The suicide rate in England dropped from 10.1 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 9.5 last year, a decrease described by the ONS as “statistically significant”. In Wales it fell from 13.0 to 11.8, but in Scotland it rose from 14.0 to 15.0.

The ONS says differences in Scotland’s coroner system and the way that suicides are certified and registered there make comparisons with the rest of Britain inappropriate.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

Our multifaceted approach to tackling obesity | Letter from Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England

Public Health England consistently argues for broad, multifaceted approaches to tackling obesity. We work with many stakeholders on many approaches. Therefore we’d like to respond to Rob Wheway (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August).

The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.

This is not the only way we are tackling obesity. We’re working with councils on issues including planning, leisure, and education among others, testing broad policy solutions. We worked with the government to encourage healthier food options on high streets through planning guidance. We also agree physical activity has a role to play in overall health. Our Change4Life campaign encourages children to be more active.

We take our responsibilities to the population’s health seriously. The above is a snapshot; our recently published business plan for 2017-18 goes into further detail about the breadth of our approach.
Dr Alison Tedstone
Chief nutritionist, Public Health England

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Our multifaceted approach to tackling obesity | Letter from Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England

Public Health England consistently argues for broad, multifaceted approaches to tackling obesity. We work with many stakeholders on many approaches. Therefore we’d like to respond to Rob Wheway (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August).

The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.

This is not the only way we are tackling obesity. We’re working with councils on issues including planning, leisure, and education among others, testing broad policy solutions. We worked with the government to encourage healthier food options on high streets through planning guidance. We also agree physical activity has a role to play in overall health. Our Change4Life campaign encourages children to be more active.

We take our responsibilities to the population’s health seriously. The above is a snapshot; our recently published business plan for 2017-18 goes into further detail about the breadth of our approach.
Dr Alison Tedstone
Chief nutritionist, Public Health England

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Our multifaceted approach to tackling obesity | Letter from Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England

Public Health England consistently argues for broad, multifaceted approaches to tackling obesity. We work with many stakeholders on many approaches. Therefore we’d like to respond to Rob Wheway (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August).

The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.

This is not the only way we are tackling obesity. We’re working with councils on issues including planning, leisure, and education among others, testing broad policy solutions. We worked with the government to encourage healthier food options on high streets through planning guidance. We also agree physical activity has a role to play in overall health. Our Change4Life campaign encourages children to be more active.

We take our responsibilities to the population’s health seriously. The above is a snapshot; our recently published business plan for 2017-18 goes into further detail about the breadth of our approach.
Dr Alison Tedstone
Chief nutritionist, Public Health England

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Our multifaceted approach to tackling obesity | Letter from Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England

Public Health England consistently argues for broad, multifaceted approaches to tackling obesity. We work with many stakeholders on many approaches. Therefore we’d like to respond to Rob Wheway (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August).

The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.

This is not the only way we are tackling obesity. We’re working with councils on issues including planning, leisure, and education among others, testing broad policy solutions. We worked with the government to encourage healthier food options on high streets through planning guidance. We also agree physical activity has a role to play in overall health. Our Change4Life campaign encourages children to be more active.

We take our responsibilities to the population’s health seriously. The above is a snapshot; our recently published business plan for 2017-18 goes into further detail about the breadth of our approach.
Dr Alison Tedstone
Chief nutritionist, Public Health England

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Our multifaceted approach to tackling obesity | Letter from Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England

Public Health England consistently argues for broad, multifaceted approaches to tackling obesity. We work with many stakeholders on many approaches. Therefore we’d like to respond to Rob Wheway (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August).

The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.

This is not the only way we are tackling obesity. We’re working with councils on issues including planning, leisure, and education among others, testing broad policy solutions. We worked with the government to encourage healthier food options on high streets through planning guidance. We also agree physical activity has a role to play in overall health. Our Change4Life campaign encourages children to be more active.

We take our responsibilities to the population’s health seriously. The above is a snapshot; our recently published business plan for 2017-18 goes into further detail about the breadth of our approach.
Dr Alison Tedstone
Chief nutritionist, Public Health England

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Our multifaceted approach to tackling obesity | Letter from Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England

Public Health England consistently argues for broad, multifaceted approaches to tackling obesity. We work with many stakeholders on many approaches. Therefore we’d like to respond to Rob Wheway (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August).

The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.

This is not the only way we are tackling obesity. We’re working with councils on issues including planning, leisure, and education among others, testing broad policy solutions. We worked with the government to encourage healthier food options on high streets through planning guidance. We also agree physical activity has a role to play in overall health. Our Change4Life campaign encourages children to be more active.

We take our responsibilities to the population’s health seriously. The above is a snapshot; our recently published business plan for 2017-18 goes into further detail about the breadth of our approach.
Dr Alison Tedstone
Chief nutritionist, Public Health England

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Health inequality gap ‘is still growing’ in England, new Department of Health data shows

The health gap between rich and poor is growing in England, according to shocking figures compiled by the Department of Health.

Despite government pledges to reduce inequalities in areas such as life expectancy and susceptibility to disability and disease, those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case. Differing health outcomes for the rich and the poor were identified by Theresa May last year as a “burning injustice”.

The health department data shows that in key areas the gap has widened since 2010 after narrowing over the previous decade. Seven years ago life expectancy for men in England’s most deprived areas was 9.1 years less than for those in the richest areas. By 2015 the figure had risen to 9.2 years. The equivalent gap for poor women also grew over that time, from 6.8 years to 7.1 years. The stark statistics are contained in the health department’s annual report, published this summer.

They have been seized on by David Buck, a senior fellow at the King’s Fund health thinktank and a leading expert in public health and health inequalities. Buck told the Observer: “These are shocking figures. It’s shocking that we live in a developed country where inequalities in health are so wide and are getting worse.

“For the poorest in the country this is a double whammy of early death and poorer health while still alive. They are going to die younger and are facing 20 more years of life spent in poor health relative to the richest. This should be a wake-up call to ministers.”

He said that the negative trend indicates that ministers and the NHS are failing to take effective action to end decades-long inequalities in outcomes.

The analysis is the latest evidence of health inequalities in England. Last week a University of Manchester study revealed that people living in the north of England were 20% more likely to die before the age of 75 than those living in the south.

Taking into account 15 indicators, the department’s data shows that rates of death from cancer, heart attacks and strokes are rising among residents of the poorest places compared with those in wealthy areas. The gap between rich and poor in relation to “healthy life expectancy” – defined as a life free of disease or disability – has recently widened to almost 20 years. Poorer people’s access to GP services is also getting worse, as is their experience of care received at GP surgeries.

Tom Cottam, policy manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, voiced dismay at the “inexcusable” socio-economic gap in the risk of dying from the disease. “Your chances of dying of cancer should not depend on where you live or your background, so the fact that there is a growing difference between the least and most deprived groups is a serious concern,” he said.

“The government, NHS England and local cancer services need to work together to address this inexcusable unfairness, and improve survival rates for people diagnosed with cancer, regardless of where they are from.”

Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said government policies had contributed to widening health inequalities. “Health in infancy and childhood sets the scene for lifelong health, so we view with dismay data from the Department of Health showing that inequality in infant mortality has widened. In the UK – one of the richest countries in the world – the gap between rich and poor is growing and the problem starts in infancy.

“These new data provide further evidence that current policies are not merely failing to tackle health, but are making matters worse. Incremental improvement in population health and wellbeing requires clear, sustained focus and determination. Yet perverse fragmentation of healthcare, growing diversion of funds into for-profit providers, and seemingly deliberate alienation of the health workforce, have been plain to see in recent months. There has been a failure to tackle the scandal of junk food, curb air pollution, and deliver preventive healthcare.”

According to Buck, the NHS was failing on three key challenges: “It is doing too little to manage people with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions such as asthma,” he said, “as well as too little to stop patients with acute conditions ending up in hospital as emergency admissions, and too little to reduce premature mortality.”

A department spokeswoman said that health inequalities were proving difficult to eradicate. “Health inequality is a challenging and complex area. [It is] deeply rooted, difficult to turn around and driven by a variety of factors. Progress is being made – cancer survival rates are at a record high and smoking rates are at an all-time low – but there is still too much variation.”

She added that ministers were giving local councils £16bn over five years to improve public health.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary, said: “Any widening in health inequalities can only be considered a failure of policy and we are committed to developing an approach to reduce wholly unacceptable health inequalities. The government must now develop a clear national strategy to reduce health inequalities as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesman for NHS England said: “Health inequalities cost lives. While there are encouraging signs on improved mortality amenable to healthcare and lower smoking rates – which account for up to half of the class-related differences in life expectancy – clearly action is still needed on the wider social determinants of health.”