The relationship between health and the economy should not be underestimated. Investment in health and wellbeing is essential – it drives sustainable and equitable economic growth and prosperity for all. Yet our health systems face tough and complex challenges, in part due to new pressures such as a rise in the prevalence of long-term conditions, emerging threats in infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, and the intensive use of expensive yet vital health technologies.
Health status and economic performance are interlinked – wealthier countries have healthier populations, and poverty adversely affects life expectancy and life course prospects.
Evidence shows us that even in relatively wealthy countries like our own, low socio-economic status (lower level of education, insufficient income, etc.) can impact negatively on health and well-being. Health damaging behaviours are driven by unequal access to economic, social and environmental opportunities.
Healthy economies have more opportunities for employment, another wider determinant of health and of health inequalities. We know that people with good work tend to be healthier, and experience better mental wellbeing.
At the conference, we look forward to discussing not only how we can overcome the challenges for public health posed by the economy we operate in, but also how we can maximise opportunities to offer routes into meaningful employment to our population and work towards prosperity for all.