East Londoners need to take action to improve their health, say NHS leaders

East Londoners need to take responsibility for their health as part of a radical change that is needed if the NHS is to avoid a £4 billion funding gap.

NHS leaders have launched a report, called London- A Call to Action - that highlights the challenges facing the capital. It says: “A growing and ageing population, higher than ever patient expectations and zero financial growth means the NHS needs radical reform if its to avoid a £4 billion funding gap by 2020.

“Around 80 per cent of premature deaths in London are attributable to lifestyle factors such as alcohol, smoking, poor diet and a lack of exercise.”

It also reveals that of the 25 boroughs with the lowest breast screening rates, 23 are in London and more than 40 per cent of Londoners are expected to be obese by 2035. Newham is the TB capital of Europe and women in Tower Hamlets have a healthy life expectancy of 54.1 years compared to 72.1 years for women in Richmond-upon-Thames.

Anne Rainsberry, regional director of NHS England, said: “Investing more in hospitals is not the answer; we need to focus more on prevention and improve our primary and community care services to coordinate services closer to where patients live.”

Henrietta Hughes, medical director of North East London, NHS England, said: “We need to engage the public and patients into making decisions about their own health and take responsibility for the impact they can have on their lifestyle.

“It is also about having a mature debate, not us telling them “you must do this”, it is about having a two way communication.”

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Dr Andy Mitchell, medical director for NHS England, London, said: “London’s hospitals are at breaking point and the demand for healthcare will outstrip the funding available in just seven years unless we fundamentally change the way services are delivered.

NHS leaders will now begin a process of consultation with Clinical Commissioning Groups, patients and local authorities about how best to meet the diverse needs of London’s population.