Report: 117,000 U.K. deaths preventable

May 17, 2012 at 1:22 AM
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LONDON, May 17 (UPI) -- There were 493,000 deaths in Britain in 2010, but the Office for National Statistics says 117,000 could have been prevented with good quality healthcare.

"These figures show that too many people in England and Wales are dying from preventable illness and disease," John Middleton, vice president for policy for the Faculty of Public Health, told The Daily Telegraph. "Inequalities in income and opportunity mean that the poorest in society often have the worst health. While we are each responsible for our own health, this data reminds us why we need skilled public health professionals to make sure that the big decisions about our health are based on evidence of what works."

The Office for National Statistics said the definition of preventable death is when the best medical knowledge or technology from good quality healthcare could have delayed the death. For example, only cancer deaths in those age 75 and under are considered avoidable.

The report said the biggest cause of avoidable death in 2010 was heart disease, which caused 21,800 deaths.

The biggest decline in preventable mortality was in cardiovascular diseases, which dropped by almost half between 2001 and 2010, attributed mostly to the use of statin drugs, the report said.

"We know that alcohol-related illnesses are increasing -- that's why we set out plans in our alcohol strategy to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking and cut the number of people drinking to harmful levels," David Stout, deputy chief executive of the National Health Service Confederation, said.

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