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November 16, 2023

Health in an Ageing Society – The CMO Annual Report 2023

Healthcare NewsInsight

Will Marshall, Head of Legal and Risk Management

Health in an Ageing Society – The CMO Annual Report 2023

Earlier this month, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, published his annual report for 2023, Health in an Ageing Society. The report focuses on England’s rapidly ageing population and highlights the need for a national policy and practice focus on how to maximise the independence, and minimise the time in ill health, between people in England reaching older age and the end of their life. It is aimed at policymakers (government and professional bodies), healthcare professionals, medical scientists and the general public.

The over-75 age group currently uses health and social care services more than any other population group, accounting for around 40% of admissions to hospitals and 70% of hospital bed days. This trend is set to continue – the number of people aged 85 and over will almost double by 2045. The CMO’s report recognises that this trend is a positive consequence of better healthcare, as there more people are living for longer in good health. However, it also means that there is an ever-rising number of people who experience multiple long-term conditions.

The report also highlights the growing trend of a geographical concentration of older people in coastal and semi-rural areas where there are fewer available health and social care services and amenities.

The report is an urgent call to action for steps to be taken now to plan for the effects of this population increase now to ensure that health and social care systems are set up to meet the needs of older people. It recommends two principal routes to improving the quality of life experienced by people in their later years. The first is about measures to reduce disability and ill-health, to extend the period in good health before they begin to experience the effects of multimorbidity and frailty. The second is about things that can be done to adapt as they age, helping older people to maintain their independence by adapting the environment in which they live.

Please stay tuned for our longer read article next week in which we review the detail of the CMO’s recommendations and analyse what they may hold for the growing number of health and social care providers providing care and services to an ageing population with increasing levels of frailty and multimorbidity.

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