Marmot review reveals life expectancy in England has stalled

NHS Government Poverty

Published by the Institute for Health Equity and commissioned by the Health Foundation, the 'Marmot Review: 10 years on' says life expectancy in England has failed to increase for a decade. It reveals overall health inequalities have widened, the amount of time people spend in poor health conditions has increased, and for the poorest 10% of women it has declined.

With a breakdown of regional areas, the report shows, of the 10% of women in the most deprived areas, life expectancy fell from 2010-12 and 2016-18. The terms of deprivation range from financial difficulties to homelessness as the report refers to housing crisis and people in work who still struggle to make ends meet. These findings show the need is ever more important for us to better support these vulnerable women in maternity care.     

We've come together with our fellow royal colleges and faculties to sign a joint letter to the Prime Minister asking he accept the recommendations made in the review effective immediately. Access the letter here.

The recommendations include:

  • Bring the health of deprived areas in the North up to the level of good health to match more affluent areas in the South and London
  • To level up health for those in more deprived areas across England
  • Develop a national strategy for action on the social determinants of health, led by the Prime Minister, with the aim of reducing inequalities in health
  • Early intervention to prevent health inequalities

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, said: "Austerity has taken a significant toll on equity and health and it is likely to continue to do so…if you ask me if that is the reason for the worsening health picture I’d say it is highly likely that is responsible for the life expectancy flat-lining, people’s health deteriorating and the widening of health inequalities. Poverty has a grip on our nation’s health – it limits the options families have available to live a healthy life."

You can access the full report here.

Please also see our useful guidance on the duty to refer and position statement on infant feeding and smoking in pregnancy for more information.