A vision for improving the health of the public
The Academy of Medical Sciences’ latest report, ‘Improving the health of the public by 2040’, explores how the UK’s research environment needs to adapt to meet the complex health challenges we will face in the future.
We have a vision for 2040. A vision for the health of the public that far exceeds current expectations. A vision that was informed by a programme of public dialogue with people from across the UK.
Our new report paints a future where across the UK population we see significant and ongoing reductions in health inequalities, and improvements in physical health, mental health and health-related quality of life.
But this won’t be achieved without profound changes in five key areas.
The first, Environments. We want our environments to support healthy living for everyone. This includes the natural and built environment, but also political, economic, technological, social and cultural settings. Decisions regarding all of our environments must be guided by sound evidence to support and improve the health of the public.
Second, Empowerment. People should be empowered to contribute to their own and other people’s health. They must be engaged in decisions likely to affect the health of the public. Patient care must be shaped by shared decision-making. And health information must be communicated in ways that empower people to make informed choices.
Third, Values. We want to see health valued by all sectors of society, from the government to the commercial sector to the public. It should be an important indicator of societal success. All parts of government should act in ways that support health. And Health and social care systems should deliver outcomes valued by the population.
Fourth, Sustainability. All future health gains must be economically and environmentally sustainable. For this, resources must be allocated more proportionately to those which benefit the health of whole populations. The relationship between our health and the health of the planet must be reflected in national decision-making. And sustainability must always be a major consideration in policy development.
Fifth, Resilience. The UK should be resilient to health crises and be a major contributor to global health security. The government should be well-prepared for disruptive events and should implement policies that support global health. And this needs to be underpinned by high levels of social cohesion, education, health and empowerment — qualities that facilitate national resilience.
But we won’t be able to see these changes without the right evidence. And our new report sets out how the UK’s research environment needs to adapt to help make this vision a reality.
Find out more and download our report at acmedsci.ac.uk/2040