Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Restoring and extending secondary prevention

Stalled improvements in mortality and life expectancy predate the pandemic

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 03 March 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p493
  1. Gerry McCartney, professor of wellbeing economy1,
  2. David Walsh, public health programme manager2
  1. 1School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Glasgow, UK
  1. gerard.mccartney{at}

The UK chief medical officers are right to be concerned about recent high mortality.1 They focus on the lower-than-expected uptake of important cardiovascular interventions, and how increasing uptake might help. The framing of the causes of high mortality is, however, medicalised and individualised.

The stalled improvements in mortality, healthy life expectancy, and morbidity predate the pandemic, having been observed since around 2012 across the …

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