The number of people in England living with major illness is projected to increase by 37 per cent by 2040, according to new research by the Health Foundation. That is nine times the rate of growth of the working population and it means 9.1 million people will need care from the NHS and care sector from a dwindling pool of workers. Although most of the increase will be in ageing populations, the researchers also project more people in the 20-69 age bracket will require treatment. The diseases most likely to be more prevalent are chronic pain, diabetes, anxiety, depression and heart failure – illnesses that mostly require well-established primary care for effective treatment. Demographic shifts are inevitable but there are options for governments and communities to reduce the impact: invest in the control of key risk factors like weight and well-being, use technology and boost the labour force to meet demand.
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