New statistics show a wide difference in healthy life expectancy across the UK Health Foundation response to ONS statistics on healthy life expectancy

11 December 2019

Responding to the ONS data on health life expectancy (2016-2018), Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, said: 

‘Today’s data shows wide differences in our health with a girl born in Nottingham expecting as little as 54 years of good health, a whole 18 years fewer than a girl born in Wokingham. Across the UK as a whole the gap in healthy life expectancy is 19.1 years.

‘Life expectancy improvements continue to be sluggish, but worryingly healthy life expectancy isn’t keeping pace. People can now expect to spend more of their life in poor health than at the turn of the decade. This is a stark reminder that we cannot take the improvements we have come to expect in our health over the past century for granted.

‘Good health is essential for people’s wellbeing and with it their ability to take a full part in their family, social and working life. Action must be taken to reverse these trends if we are to ensure a more prosperous future for the nation.

‘Whichever party takes office later this week will need to make the long term investments necessary for people to stay healthy in the first place. This will require a shift in the balance of spending towards services such as early years, youth and public health, as well as housing and social security, so that everyone is able to lead healthier lives.’

Media contact

Diana Mackie
020 7257 8039

Further reading


Mortality and life expectancy trends in the UK

November 2019

Since 2011 improvements in life expectancy in the UK have stalled, and for certain groups of the...


Creating healthy lives

September 2019

This publication makes the case for an ambitious, whole-government approach to long-term investment...

You might also like...

Newsletter feature

Three projects that have successfully spread virtual consultations

We shine a spotlight on three of our improvement projects that are playing a key role in rolling out...

Newsletter feature

Using virtual consultations in the fight against COVID-19

We spoke to Professor Greenhalgh about the rapid implementation of virtual consultations in response...


The public health grant has been increased but is still too low

March 2020 chart of the month. The 2020/21 public health grant allocations are a welcome increase,...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more