UK Government Prioritizes Healthy Longevity as a Major National Priority in New Green Paper
JULY 24, 2018
This week the UK Government published the green paper of its Preventive Medicine National Strategy, entitled “Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s – consultation document”. In practice, this indicates that the UK will be the first country to officially implement P4 (Personalized, Preventive, Precision and Participatory) medicine into its national healthcare system.
This is the newest development in a series of large steps that the UK government has made in recent years towards the development of a proactive, progressive and technology-driven national Healthy Longevity development strategy, beginning with the formation of the Ageing Industrial Grand Challenge (prioritizing the problem of ageing population as one of four key national industrial development challenges for the nation) in 2017, followed by the launch of the £98 million Government-led Healthy Ageing Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in 2018, and the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity in 2019.
These are some of the major factors that led to the UK being ranked as #1 in Aging Analytics Agency’s National Longevity Development Plans: Global Overview (First Edition) analytical report, which used quantitative metrics to rank the strength, proactivity and relevance of various nations’ Longevity development projects and initiatives.
The analytical report was announced in the UK Parliament during the official launch event of the APPG for Longevity, and was presented at the APPG for Longevity’s inaugural Strategic Advisory Board Meeting on behalf of Eric Kihlstrom (Director of Aging Analytics Agency, Head of Industry Collaboration for the APPG for Longevity Secretariat and the former Interim Director of the £98 million Government-led Healthy Ageing Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund) and Managing Trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation Dmitry Kaminskiy (Founder of Aging Analytics Agency and Head of International Cooperation for the APPG for Longevity Secretariat).
This new green paper strengthens and reaffirms the conclusion made in that analytical report, on the UK’s leading position as a country that prioritizes the issue of ageing population and the opportunity of Healthy Longevity as key national priority items of the nation’s government. In the words of the green paper’s introduction:
“The 2020s will be the decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention. This means:
tailored lifestyle advice
greater protection against future threats
New technologies such as genomics and artificial intelligence will help us create a new prevention model that means the NHS will be there for people even before they are born. For example, if a child had inherited a rare disease we might be able to diagnose and start treatment while they are still in the womb, so they are born healthy.
Using data held by the NHS, and generated by smart devices worn by individuals, we will be able to usher in a new wave of intelligent public health where everyone has access to their health information and many more health interventions are personalised.
In the 2020s, people will not be passive recipients of care. They will be co-creators of their own health. The challenge is to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to help themselves.
The 2020s will be the decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention. In the 2020s, people will not be passive recipients of care. They will be co-creators of their own health. The challenge is to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to help themselves.”
There are a number of countries (including Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain and Japan) that are currently ahead of the UK in terms of the gap between life expectancy and Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE), which can be considered one of the most robust measures of Healthy Longevity. However, this fact may be due to the comparatively smaller size of these countries populations, among other factors, which makes the implementation of national policy and preventive healthcare initiatives easier to implement.
However, one of the foremost reasons that the UK’s was ranked as #1 in Aging Analytics Agency’s “National Longevity Development Plans” analytical report, despite the country’s comparative large gap between life expectancy and Healthy Longevity, was because the nation is making boldly pogressive, science and technology-driven steps to launch initiatives that can rapidly decrease this gap, and not just putting forth optimistic rhetoric, but actually following-through on its promises with concrete and tangible actions.
Given the UK’s large GDP, the proactive efforts of its government to make Healthy Longevity a major priority of its national agenda, and the many steps they have taken to prove their seriousness on this topic, it is quite likely that the UK can become the clear leader in terms of government-ed National Longevity development plans, and can achieve very practical and tangible results in increasing their National Healthy Longevity within the next 5 years.
The green paper concludes:
“These commitments will help us towards our mission of ‘5 more years of healthy, independent life by 2035 while reducing the gap between richest and poorest’. However, we’ve been clear that they won’t deliver the whole 5 years, and that further action will be needed. That’s why we’ll aim to publish a government response to the green paper by spring 2020, setting out our proposals in more detail. The government is committed to delivering the Ageing Society Grand Challenge – where the ‘5 more years’ ambition comes from – and ensuring the UK is at the cutting edge and world-leading in our approach to demographic changes. We recognise that this requires action across government and through the spending review process we will establish how we best co-ordinate and drive delivery of this work, for example, through the creation of an office to support healthy ageing.”
Aging Analytics Agency is currently working on a more comprehensive report on Government-led National Longevity Development Plans that aims to identify the most important factors contributing to HALE and, most importantly, the gap between life expectancy and HALE, in 50 different countries, in order to supply relevant government bodies with the practical insights they need to identify the roadblocks and slow-down factors that are working to increase this gap, as well as the most important medical, healthcare, policy and socioeconomic factors that need to be prioritized in order to decrease the gap between life expectancy and HALE.