DH logoMore can be done to tackle premature deaths, the Department of Health (DH) has announced in a new call to action.

The DH has identified five major causes of premature death – cancer, stroke, respiratory, liver or heart disease – and claims that new plans to tackle these could save 30,000 lives by 2020.

More than 150,000 people under the age of 75 die every year from these conditions, the DH estimates, while cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounted for 30 per cent of all deaths in 2011.

To tackle the issue, the DH has launched a new call to arms document called Living Well for Longer: A call to action to reduce avoidable premature mortality. It sets out the Government’s aim to ensure England has the lowest rate of premature mortality in Europe and explains how they plan to reduce the mortality rate in under-75s, including health care interventions, more exercise and tackling smoking and drinking.

Commenting on the launch, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Despite real progress in cutting deaths we remain a poor relative to our global cousins on many measures of health, something I want to change.

“For too long we have been lagging behind and I want the reformed health system to take up this challenge and turn this shocking underperformance around.

“Today’s proposals for those with cardiovascular diseases will bring better care, longer and healthier lives and better patient experience – which we must all strive to deliver.”

Enver Solomon, Director of Evidence and Impact at the National Children’s Bureau, said: “The route to tackling avoidable deaths is through effective prevention which means that public health programmes for children that focus on healthy eating and the risks of smoking and alcohol misuse are critically important.

“The Government is rightly committed to improving children's health outcomes but the challenge is to ensure that local health and wellbeing boards prioritise health prevention with all children. Improving school health provision is also crucial if young people are to make healthy life choices that continue into adulthood.”

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