Lifelong Service

We are all getting older! Admittedly that is an inescapable fact; but moving away from the obvious statement that each individual is on a personal journey through life, a new study has also revealed that in the UK life expectancy is also rising.

The researchers looked at population and death records in England and Wales from 1981 to 2012. From this they created and tested statistical models to find one which best fit the data and then used this to project forward life expectancy for those born up to 2030. The research predicts that men and women born in 2030 will have an average life expectancy of 85.7 and 87.6 years respectively.

The results do show a considerable variation between areas of the UK, with men in some districts expected to live on average 8.3 years longer than those in other parts of the country. The gap between the life expectancy of men and women is also shrinking and by 2030 is expected to be as low as zero in some areas.

But there is a downside to living longer and that is the quality of life which is experienced as people enter their later years. Whilst some will be blessed with reasonable health, others may have to increasingly rely on health professionals to keep them mobile. This will place an ever increasing strain on some sectors of the health service as well as on independent health providers.

Put simply, if people are living longer then they are going to be relying on health services for a longer period.  This means that some health and mobility issues which once may have been sidelined as more acute problems were treated have now grown in importance.  For example whereas once an individual may have had limited mobility for a short time, now they may increasingly look towards health solutions including replacement hips and knees to help them to stay mobile for longer.

On the plus side this can mean that some individuals will have a reduced call on health services once they have been treated.  However, in the period leading up to and immediately after their operation, the call on health resources can be greatly increased.

The NHS Choices website which summarised the findings of the survey has recommended that those looking to live to a reasonable age take steps to improve their lifestyle and reduce the chances of catching one of the five prime causes of early death; namely cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and liver disease.

However, although the study’s conclusions related to those born in 2030, the effects of an aging population are already being felt. With resources under pressure, health professionals are looking for ways to manage their practices in a more streamlined and efficient way. Outsourcing some services such as telephone answering and diary management is already having a positive impact for those who want to maximise treatment time and still provide a professional and contactable service. Knowing that even whilst you are treating patients, your phone is still being answered and appointments made is a help to those looking to provide a high level of access to their patients.