Intended for healthcare professionals


Health, wellbeing, and care should be top of everyone’s political agenda

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 15 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6503
  1. Maggie Rae, president1,
  2. John Middleton, president2
  1. 1United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health, London, UK
  2. 2Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER), Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to J Middleton john.middleton{at}

Past failures in policy making have caused serious avoidable harm

In this election so far, we are missing a debate about better health, wellbeing, and care. Failures to protect and improve public health have become stark since 2017.1 The consequences of austerity policies include the decline in life expectancy, the rise in infant mortality, and the rise in knife crime. We need to put health in all policies, tackle grotesque and widening health inequalities, and consider the wellbeing of future generations.2 Our next government must also reverse cuts to services on which health protection and improvement depend.3

Austerity kills

Differences in life expectancy are widening between rich and poor.14 Life expectancy is falling for older adults5 and particularly for poorer women.4 Cuts in social care are a factor in the drop in life expectancy among older people.15 More damning is the rise of infant mortality since 2013.6

The landscape of austerity UK features daily: 3700 people are using a food bank, 5400 suffering domestic …

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