More Than 10% of the #UK Population Live in Persistent Poverty

Today the Social Metrics Commission,  founded in 2016 to develop a new approach to poverty measurement because the UK no longer had an official measure of poverty for children, adults or pensioners has published its latest report on UK poverty today

In developing a new set of metrics, the commission wanted metrics that better reflected the nature and experiences of poverty and one which could be used to build a consensus around poverty measurement and action in the UK. So what are they saying this year?

Let’s start by considering the UK total population which was 66.04 million people in 2017 (The most recent accurate estimate).

The key messages in this report indicate that ƒthere are 14.3 million people in poverty in the UK. This includes 8.3 million working-age adults; 4.6 million children; and 1.3 million pension-age adults.ƒIndicating that despite  minor fluctuations, overall rates of poverty have changed relatively little since 2000.

The current rate of poverty is close to 22%, which is the same as last year and only slightly lower than the 24% seen in 2000/01.

However, this trend hides significant changes in rates of poverty among different groups. Poverty rates in pension-age adults fell steadily from 19% in 2000/01 to 9% in 2014/15 but have since risen slightly to 11%.

Similarly, poverty rates among children dropped from 36% in 2000/01 to 31% in 2014/15, but have now risen slightly to 34%.ƒ

On average, those in poverty have moved closer to the poverty line now than would have been the case in 2000/01. However, a third (31%) of people in poverty – 4.5 million people – are more than 50% below the poverty line, and this proportion has not changed since the millennium.

7 million people are living in persistent poverty meaning they have been in poverty for at least two of the previous three years and are still in poverty now with not much chance of an escape given the current economic situation. 

Remember this is the UK has the 5th largest economy in the world by GDP

Two questions pensioner poverty is going up, why? Child poverty is not coming down despite several government attempts to tackle it over the years.

Some thing new the report shows; nearly half of people in poverty live in a family where someone is disabled. This is shocking, and has clearly been overlooked by government for many years. Surely this need to be addressed

To access the full report CLICK HERE

Advertisements

Have You Looked at the NHS Apps Library?

app-1013616__340

Did you know that the NHS (in England) has been developing an NHS Apps Library.

Created in 2017; NHS Digital has worked with more than 350 developers to provide a library of digital health tools which are accessible to everyone. The Apps can be trusted because they are assessed rigorously before making the platform. This assessment also means that they are easy to use.

Since 2017, the library has been growing and covers many health and care needs including

  • support to prevent and manage diabetes including diet, exercise and lifestyle change
  • mental health apps offering advice and support on managing thoughts, feelings and behaviour and coping with panic attacks
  • apps to support personal well-being and a healthy lifestyle
  • tools to help manage the symptoms of chronic conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure
  • support to cope with the impact of breast cancer

Last year the Apps Library had already proved to be a great success. There was over a quarter of a million visits from launch to summer 2018 and more than half of those were from mobile phones, which shows how patient access to health care is transforming.

Digital Health continue to work with developers to offer apps which are relevant, helpful and empower patients to manage their own condition, which has been proven to lead to better outcomes.

To visit the library CLICK HERE

Having the NHS Apps Library also helps the public navigate the confusing array of health apps, advising them which apps have met NHS standards. Now they have added an NHS App which provides a simple and secure way for people to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or tablet.

Come on NHS Scotland its time to catch up! I could only find these so far.

https://www.nhsinform.scot/care-support-and-rights/tools-and-apps and http://www.knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/home/mobile/mobile-knowledge.aspx

You might also find this interesting http://myhealthapps.net/ which was originally a European Directory of Health Apps.

One in Five UK Hospital Patients are Harmful Drinkers

A team mainly from Kings College in London conducted as part of the first author’s MRC Addiction Research Clinical (MARC) Fellowship, has found that 1 in 5 in-patients in the UK hospital system uses alcohol harmfully, and that 1 in 10 is alcohol dependent.

They conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that looked at studies of any design that reported the prevalence of one of 26 wholly attributable alcohol conditions defined by the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases, Version 10 (ICD‐10).

They looked at 124 studies which were all conducted in one or more of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom and in an in‐patient setting (general wards, intensive care units, accident and emergency departments or mental health in‐patient units). The 124 studies meant that they were reporting on a total of 1 657 614 patients.

Having arrived at what is a shocking statistic they have rightly suggested that hospital staff need to be skilled in the diagnosis and management of alcohol‐related conditions given the number of people that they will see as inpatients. They have also pointed out that formal screening for alcohol‐related conditions in hospital remain low and that needs to change

Given the fact that other less prevalent diseases such as diabetes, are routinely screened for and often have dedicated in‐hospital specialist care teams their study provides weight  for increased routine universal screening and support to improving everyone’s training concerning alcohol‐related conditions given this high frequency of encounters.

This study is very pertinent given the UK government’s development of a new alcohol strategy and the NHS 10‐Year Plan which included funding allocations to combat alcohol‐related conditions.

Last year figures suggested that at least 41 English hospitals do not currently have an alcohol care team (ACT’s) in place. This is despite the 10 year plan including a commitment to place ACT’s in hospitals with the highest rate of alcohol dependence-related admissions (according to this study that will be all of them!) although the plan for increasing ACT’s, does not seem to have to any material funding.

To view the whole report see

Roberts E, Morse R, Epstein S, Hotopf M, Leon D, Drummond C. The prevalence of wholly attributable alcohol conditions in the United Kingdom hospital system: a systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression. Addiction. 2019 Jul 3 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/add.14642. PMID: 31269539

Focusing on Retirement

newspaper-412435_1280

Thought I’d “borrow” again from the ideas.ted.com site which published a very interesting Blog recently on the topic of retirement and its potential effects on the brain. It reports on emerging research that seems to suggest that retirement could lead to a decline in your cognitive function. However, its not quite as simple as that and many people thrive in their retirement. This Blog and the accompanying TED talk by Professor Ross Andel of the University of South Florida in Tampa make a number of suggestions about what you need to be aware of and what you need to do to stop the decline in speed of processing one of the main indicators of the ageing of the brain. One thing he suggest is to forget the idea that retirement is a permanent holiday and look at it more as a personal renaissance. I am therefore beginning to look forward to rediscovering myself!

On a more general note the reality of retirement in the UK in the future may be a more complex situation than we face currently.

In 2017 the BBC Money Box Programme made a series of programmes on the topic of The Death of Retirement which is worth spending some time listening to.

Six Ways Carers Can Fight Burnout

I missed a post again last week and I’ve also missed another Friday since. This is possibly the longest break between posts in the 3 plus years I have hosted my own Blog.  Unfortunately that means that I  didn’t post anything at the end of Carers Week which fell between 10 – 16 June 2019 this year so to make up for that I am going to post the link to a great Blog that was posted on the 20th of June by Ideas.Ted.Com which is the Blogging site of the people who bring you TED Talks

Called “Caring for a loved one is hard work — 6 ways you can fight burnout” its a useful set of tips for anyone who is a carer. The links to 3 associated TED talks are also on the page if you want to watch rather than read.

Just as a contrast here is another TED talk but this one is about Domestic Workers- they’re the nannies, the elder-care workers and the house cleaners who do the work that makes all other work possible. Too often, they’re invisible, taken for granted or dismissed as “help,” yet they continue to do their wholehearted best for the families and homes in their charge.

Time to Raise the Equality Flag (Again!)

Late again with this post. Not sure now why I promised a new post every Friday when now I rarely manage to post it on time. 😦

Enough moaning about my own tardiness, this is more important!

Earlier this month the International Longevity Centre (ILC) released a report by their own  researchers and other researchers based at University College London (UCL), and Cardiff University. The work was funded by the Wellcome Trust. The report called “Raising the equality flag: Health inequalities among older LGBT people in the UK” which you can download from HERE pulls together the results from a  project conducted across two phases: a scoping review of existing evidence and a new analysis drawing on
several existing UK datasets.

Their research, like previous research concluded that a lifetime of prejudice and stigma is leading to worse physical and mental health, poorer access to health and social care, as well as greater levels of social isolation and loneliness among older LGBT people Moreover, older non-heterosexual men are more likely to be living with a long-term limiting illness and have lower overall life satisfaction.

These health inequalities have been ongoing issues for many years and while there may some improvement in attitude there seems to be very little improvement on outcomes.

So what needs to be done? Well to reinforce the points that this report makes we need
action to

(a) ensure mainstream health and care services are inclusive, i.e. they provide environments where older LGBT people feel safe and comfortable (Are they not supposed to be able to do this already?)

(b) Develop a national standard or quality assurance framework around equality and diversity training for the needs of older LGBT people.

Presumably because we aren’t doing (a) already 😦

 

Becoming an Age Friendly Place to Live

Two stories caught my eye this week and they are both part of the same issue, which is really about making towns and cities in the future fit for older people to live in.

Urbanisation alongside Ageing are the biggest demographic shifts of my life time and governments have been very slow to react to both. However Manchester, yes the UK one :), was the first UK city to join the World Health Organization’s (WHO) newly established Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities in 2010. Last year Greater Manchester set a similar precedent when it became the UK’s first city-region to join the network. Working with the University of Manchester Age Friendly Manchester a partnership involving organisations, groups and individuals across the city have been testing some of the theories about how age-friendliness might be achieved helping to define key priorities for ongoing and future work. The result is a detailed workplan a summary of which you can find HERE 

For more about the collaboration with the University of Manchester CLICK HERE 

The second story is a report by the Centre for Better Ageing decrying the state of the UK housing stock and the need to build homes more suitable to the needs of Britain’s older people. This is a topic that I return to more frequently now in my blog probably because inadequate housing and heating kills. Work done in Manchester, commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and funded by the Centre for Ageing Better, has revealed that those on low- and middle- incomes can find themselves trapped in homes which are no longer appropriate for them as they age. For more on this topic see Building better homes is good for everyone – not just older people

The key messages from both these stories is that that we must improve accessibility within our cities for everyone. We also need a radical rethink on the design and accessibility of new homes and  the condition and accessibility of existing housing needs a lot more attention (and spending) than its getting currently.

Making environments more age-friendly will benefit us all!