27 April 2022
Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Head of LCP’s Health Analytics team will be vice chair on the cross-party IPPR Health and Prosperity Commission, chaired by leading surgeon Professor the Lord Ara Darzi and former Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies. The Commission will work for two years to better understand the interconnections between health and the economy and to set out a blueprint to harness the full potential of better health for all.
Other members of the cross-party commission include Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and former chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Sir Oliver Letwin, along with senior figures from health, business, economics, and trade unions.
On the day that the Commission is launching, analysis by LCP and think tank IPPR highlights that there are now more than a million workers missing from the workforce compared to the pre-pandemic trend and about 400,000 of these are no longer working because of health factors, such as chronic diseases such as diabetes, as well as long Covid, disruption to health care and declining mental health. IPPR estimates that this could impact economic activity this year by an estimated £8 billion.
Some of the key findings in the report are:
- Health and regional inequality - People living in the most economically deprived parts of the country - including Blackpool, Knowsley and Barking & Dagenham - can on average also expect to fall into poor health in just their late 50s, five years earlier than the national average and 12 years sooner than people living in the healthiest area in the country, Wokingham. This is largely down to factors like low quality housing, bad jobs, low wages and chronic stress, the report argues.
- Health and productivity - Local level analysis reveals that someone living in North East Lincolnshire can expect to fall into bad health eight years earlier than the UK average, while the output of their work is also valued at £8 less an hour than the average. The report argues this is a vicious cycle – factors like lack of job opportunity and poverty can harm people’s health; in turn, poor health can undermine people’s work and a place’s productivity.
- Health and poverty - If rates of child poverty and unemployment in the unhealthiest local authorities (e.g. Blackpool, Kingston upon Hull, Stoke) met rates in the healthiest local authorities (e.g. Windsor & Maidenhead, Wokingham, Richmond upon Thames, we would see 430,000 less children in poverty and 420,000 more adults in work.
Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the inextricable link between health, our economic prosperity and inequalities. The pandemic must serve as a catalyst for us to re-position health as an opportunity to level up society and embed sustainable prosperity for future generations. I’m delighted to be Vice-chair of this cross-party commission to help determine a blueprint that will not just help the NHS but also improve people’s lives and reduce inequality.
Chris Thomas, head of the Commission on Health and Prosperity, said: “As the government moves to a ‘living with Covid’ strategy, politicians must not forget how intrinsically linked our health is to our economic fortunes. Policymakers can take immediate steps to make it easier for people dealing with long-Covid and other health complications back to work, but they must also take decisive action to improve our health overall and tackle our nation’s burning health and economic inequalities. An unthinking return to the status quo would be a grotesque injustice to all who have lost their lives and livelihoods. We must build back better.”