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UK needs national mission to stop decline in health that mirrors climate action, says commission

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p986 (Published 02 May 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p986
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

The UK government should launch a national mission to improve people’s health and prosperity—mirroring society’s ambitions for tackling climate change—to avert long term economic decline, analysts have said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), in a report published on 27 April by its commission on health and prosperity, found that lost earnings linked to long term sickness cost the UK economy £43bn in 2021—equivalent to around 2% of gross domestic product.1

It concluded that the UK is getting poorer and sicker, that the malaise is deep rooted and precedes the covid-19 pandemic, and that policy must shift out of “apathy” if it is to stop population health going backwards.

It proposed setting new legal targets and raising more investment for prevention, under a Health and Prosperity Act that would “make health everyone’s business” in the way that the 2008 Climate Change Act catalysed action on reducing carbon emissions.

Sally Davies, a former chief medical officer for England who co-chairs the IPPR’s commission on health …

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