Healthy Places – The case for action on healthy life expectancy.

Public First’s new report for the Health Foundation was designed to support the government’s ambition to reduce the gap in healthy life expectancy. We do this by exploring what people who live in areas of very low HLE want to see change and understanding the case for action.

Public First conducted 6 focus groups in very low HLE areas and a nationally representative poll. We find that people in low HLE areas have a holistic view of what makes their place healthy, and want action on crime, green spaces and a greater sense of community – as well as improvements to health services. There is a wide and nuanced understanding of health inequalities but the public don’t see anything happening and don’t trust it will happen in the future. This political failure may be punished at the ballot box if action isn’t taken, but there are also political opportunities for parties willing to step up. Policies to tackle health inequalities – like expanding cancer screening and improving access to green spaces – are popular and could help political parties attract new voters in the coming election.