11 September 2018

Connection Between Lifestyle Factors and Overall Health 'Remains Clear', Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the new health profile report by Public Health England.

She said: "It's testament to the tremendous efforts of our NHS and public health services that more people are now living longer, but with this achievement comes the reality that more of us are also living with multiple, long-term conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

"As this report shows, there are a number of reasons why some people are more likely to develop these conditions than others, including genetic predisposition and socio-economic factors, but there remains a clear connection between the quality of our patients' lifestyle and their overall health.

"It's so encouraging to see that smoking prevalence has dropped to just 15% over the last seven years, for example, but the chances of people developing illnesses like diabetes is still worryingly high, and frequently is the result of poor diet and lack of exercise as well as genetic factors.

"GPs are acutely aware of these dangers, which is why we will always try to take into account the physical, psychological and social aspects of the person sitting in front of us, including how their lifestyle might be affecting their health and the ways in which they can work to improve it. Often simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on long-term health and wellbeing.

"With many patients coming to see their doctor with more than problem, however, finding time to properly assess someone's lifestyle can be difficult within the constraints of a standard 10-minute consultation.

"GPs and our teams make the vast majority of NHS patient contacts, and with our growing and ageing population, our workload is escalating both in terms of volume and complexity.

"We desperately need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promises more investment and more GPs, to be delivered, in full – and we also need to see general practice receive an additional £2.5bn extra a year as part of the NHS's long term plan, so that we can continue to deliver the care our patients need and deserve."

Further Information
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.