Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2020

19 Dec 2020

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Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty’s first annual report gives an overview of the health of England’s population. As an experienced staffing solutions organisation, underpinned by a people-first approach, we analysed the report eagerly to find out where we stand with health and wellbeing in England.


The report provides an independent assessment of the state of the public’s health in England. Using data and scientific evidence has long since been a thread common among CMO reports such as this one. A range of health statistics allows for officials to monitor how things are going health-wise,  prioritise areas for improvement and inform policymaking, by identifying areas that are working but also those that are not.

Public health in 2020 has been overshadowed by COVID-19 not just in England but globally. Having said that, the report also focuses on other pressing public health issues that we as a nation simply cannot ignore.

Some key findings and themes

While each reader will make their own assumptions from the report, a few common trends were established, such as:

1) The improvements in life expectancy everywhere stalled relatively recently, not just in England but worldwide. The reasons are uncertain, but the improvements need to be started again.

2) Ill health and disease concentrating in areas of deprivation is a chronic issue and needs to be addressed by action plans that deliver results.

3) There is an increasing concentration of older people, often in different parts of the country, and irrespective of deprivation, who have diseases such as dementia, many cancers and cardiovascular disease. Often, they are in parts of the country where service provision is an issue,  and this trend looks likely to continue.

4) Multiple chronic diseases are increasing relative to people with a single disease. At the same time, the trend within the medical profession has been to increase the popularity of specialisation. England needs to maintain generalist skills within the medical profession whilst continuing to advance with specialisation at the same time. It is possible to be an excellent specialist and simultaneously an excellent generalist.1 Medical science proved great in addressing individual diseases, has been much less effective in addressing multimorbidity.1

5) The devastating negative effects of cigarette smoking continues, from the early stages of life including smoking in pregnancy, through to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and the most common cancer-related mortality, including lung cancer. Tobacco companies making millions in profits has resulted in smoker’s deaths and poor health; this issue requires immediate action. Ill health from smoking is an economic and health burden that is entirely preventable.

6) Despite the areas for attention above, the data in this report shows a general trend of gradual improvement across many areas of health, particularly over longer-term timelines.  England shows consistent improvements to health, wellbeing, and productivity, even though pandemics. This is due to the advance of medical science, and improvements in people’s standards of living.

It is positive to see these long-term trends evolve that point to a better future health-wise to come.

Key Takeaways

Although much work remains to be done, overall, England looks set to improve its health and health-related issues in the future. There is no doubt COVID-19 whirl winded the world in 2020, but health officials and the medical world still need to remain dedicated to other long-term illnesses and chronic issues for the health and wellbeing of the nation. Should the above fundamental problems be tackled in the coming years, England’s future generation looks set to enjoy a healthier lifestyle than the current generation.

There is nothing impossible to overcome within the key trends above. Still, robust action plans backed up with the right resources and executed with deliberate thought will undoubtedly go a long way to securing a healthy and well England.

If you are a healthcare professional wanting to be part of health improvement in England, why not join our innovative, framework-approved and forward-thing organisation that works with the NHS to solve staffing solutions nationally – contact us today and take a look at the vast array of opportunities we have on offer currently.



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