The public health system should be reformed to prevent at least 77,000 premature deaths every year, a new report has argued.
The Health Foundation warns there is a risk that vital aspects of public health will be neglected as huge resources are being poured into the endemic response.
A report from the think tank finds that £1.2bn is needed to restore public health funding to its 2015 levels, while a further £2.6bn is needed to level up public health across the country.
The report reveals that people living in the more affluent half of the population are much less likely to die prematurely (before the age of 75) than those living in more deprived areas.
Tim Elwell-Sutton, assistant director of strategic partnerships at the Health Foundation, said: ‘The pandemic makes it all more urgent that we prioritise keeping people healthy. A strong public health system isn’t a luxury – beyond the obvious benefit to the individual, good health brings with it huge economic and social benefits that are vital to the country’s prosperity.
‘The government has pledged to increase healthy life expectancy and narrow the gap between the richest and poorest. To achieve that they need to make a serious cross-government commitment to improving health.’