August 3, 2006, Matthew Horne
RED set an ambitious agenda last year for healthy living. We set out to help people live well with diabetes and live active lifestyles as they grew older. Last week the PM made a speech embracing this agenda committing the government to action to tackle our unhealthy lifestyles. This is really welcome. Well done TB!
The economic burden of chronic disease, including lost work, the early drawing down of pension entitlements and the need for palliative care, could be vast. Heart disease alone costs the UK nearly £8 billion per annum. The Health Select Committee estimate that the full costs of obesity and overweight people to the country is in the region of £7 billion per year. The NHS spends £1.7 billion treating conditions related to smoking. Health treatment relating to alcohol cost an estimated £1.7 billion with the treatment of alcohol related harm costing a further £20 billion.
No wonder the PM wants to do something about chronic illness! I'm sure his next door neighbour in the Treasury feels the same. Unfortunately our NHS is not designed to treat chronic disease. It was set up to tackle acute and contagious disease - something that it has done rather well. We think new services and healthcare systems are needed to mee this challenge. To find out more click here.