Childhood Vulnerability In England

Major study from Children’s Commissioner reveals over two million children in England are growing up in families where there are serious risks.

This report examines the latest scale of, and trends over time in, rates of childhood vulnerability. It estimates the total number of children in England currently receiving statutory support or intervention (those who are ‘in the system’), to be 723,000 children.


The report estimates that 2.3 million children are living with risk because of a vulnerable family background. Within this group, it estimates that more than a third – 829,000 children – are ‘invisible’ (in the sense of not being known to services) and therefore not getting any support. Another 761,000 children – around a third – are known to services, but their level of support is unclear. Adding these two groups together, means that there are 1.6 million children from a vulnerable family background for whom the support is either patchy or non-existent.

Key Statistics:

  • 2.3m children growing up with a vulnerable family background
  • 1.6m children in families with complex needs for which there is no national established, recognised form of support
  • 829,000 children are ‘invisible’ to services
  • 25% of the amount councils spend on children now goes on the 1.1% of children who need acute and specialist services

Full detail: Childhood vulnerability in England 2019

Obesity a factor in over 700 000 hospital admissions in 2017/18

NHS Digital | May 2019 | 711,000 hospital admissions where obesity was a factor in 2017/18

NHS Digital figures on obesity released 8 May show the number of  hospital admissions, prescription items, prevalence among adults and children as well as physical activity and diet.

Hospital admissions

New figures in the report show that:

  • Around two thirds of the admissions where obesity was recorded as either a primary or secondary diagnosis in 2017/18 were for women (66%)
  • Of the 6,627 Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) for bariatric surgery in 2017/18, 79% of the patients were female.



The number of items prescribed by primary care for obesity treatment decreased by 8% from 401,000 items in 2017 to 371,000 items in 2018, and continues a downward trend since a peak of 1.45 million items in 2009. The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) saw an increase for the first time in five years, rising from £6.9m in 2017 to £8.1m in 2018.

Obesity Prevalence

  • Adult obesity prevalence stood at 29% in 2017, an increase from 26% in 2016
  • Prevalence of child obesity in both Reception and Year 6 was over twice as high in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas; 13% compared to 6% in reception year, and 27% compared to 12% in Year 6.

Physical activity and diet

  • 68% of men and 64% of women aged 19 and over met the government’s physical activity guidelines for adults in 2017/18
  • 21% of men and 23% of women were classed as inactive in 2017/18
  • 20% of boys and 14% of girls were meeting the government’s physical activity guidelines for children
  • Women (32%) were more likely to consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, than men (26%)
  • 18% of children consumed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2017.

The full report, Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2019, is available from NHS Digital 

Living longer: caring in later working life

Office for National Statistics | March 2019 | Living longer: caring in later working life

Living longer: caring in later working life– In this article, the Office for National Statistics (ONS)  lookS closer at the differences between men and women who work and care, examining  how who is being cared for drives the number of hours a carer provides and their ability to work. 

As the UK population gets older, an increasing number of workers are providing care towards the end of their working life for family members. One quarter of older female workers, and one- eighth of older male workers, have caring responsibilities.

older adults-affection-couple-1642883

Topics covered in this article:

  • Older workers will increasingly have caring responsibilities
  • Who is providing unpaid care
  • A quarter of male workers provide care for a spouse
  • Caring for a parent is the most common type of caring
  • Who is being care for drives the number of hours spent caring
  • What impact does caring have on the carer?
  • What does this mean for the future?

See also:

Living longer: fitting it all in- working, caring and health later in life

NHS England publishes Combined Performance Summary

NHS England has published its Combined Performance Summary, which provides data on key performance measures for January and February of this year. Here Jessica Morris of the Nuffield Trust shows some of these statistics and how they compare with previous years.

Commenting on the latest Combined Performance Summary, Prof John Appleby says the A&E slump and spike in cancer waits are of real concern and a reminder of the pressure that NHS staff face: A&E slump and spike in cancer waits mean stormy waters for new NHS targets

Full analysis: Combined Performance Summary: January – February 2019 | Nuffield Trust

The NHS England resource contains a summary of the performance statistics on:

Urgent and emergency care

Planned care


Mental Health

Full detail: Combined Performance Summary | NHS England

NHS Key Statistics: England, February 2019

House of Commons Library | February 2019 | NHS Key Statistics: England, February 2019

A briefing paper from the House of Commons Library shows demand for NHS services
has risen, and performance on many measures has declined. 4-hour waits in A&E rose to a new high, with 18.5% of people attending major departments experiencing long waits compared with 16.5% in 2017. Attendances rose by 0.6% in 2018. The waiting list for consultant-led treatment rose to a new high in 2018 and the 18-week treatment
target was not met. Performance against the 62-day cancer treatment target reached a
new low and the target was missed for a fifth consecutive year. The number of treatments rose 4% year on year (Source: House of Commons Library). 

NHS Key Statistics February 2019- full report 

Suicide death numbers fall by a third globally over past 30 years

Naghavi, M. | 2019|Global, regional, and national burden of suicide mortality 1990 to 2016: systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 |BMJ |364 |l94 |doi:

An international team of researchers conducted an analysis of  data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study, a project that tracks all known causes of death by country, the experts found that the total number of deaths from suicide increased by 6.7% globally between 1990 and 2016 to 817,000 deaths in 2016. The results of the study have now been published in the BMJ. 


Objectives To use the estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 to describe patterns of suicide mortality globally, regionally, and for 195 countries and territories by age, sex, and Socio-demographic index, and to describe temporal trends between 1990 and 2016.

Design Systematic analysis.

Main outcome measures Crude and age standardised rates from suicide mortality and years of life lost were compared across regions and countries, and by age, sex, and Socio-demographic index (a composite measure of fertility, income, and education).

Results The total number of deaths from suicide increased by 6.7% globally over the 27 year study period to 817 000 (762 000 to 884 000) deaths in 2016. However, the age standardised mortality rate for suicide decreased by 32.7% worldwide between 1990 and 2016, similar to the decline in the global age standardised mortality rate of 30.6%. Suicide was the leading cause of age standardised years of life lost in the Global Burden of Disease region of high income Asia Pacific and was among the top 10 leading causes in eastern Europe, central Europe, western Europe, central Asia, Australasia, southern Latin America, and high income North America. Rates for men were higher than for women across regions, countries, and age groups, except for the 15 to 19 age group. There was variation in the female to male ratio, with higher ratios at lower levels of Socio-demographic index. Women experienced greater decreases in mortality rates  than men.

Conclusions Age standardised mortality rates for suicide have greatly reduced since 1990, but suicide remains an important contributor to mortality worldwide. Suicide mortality was variable across locations, between sexes, and between age groups. Suicide prevention strategies can be targeted towards vulnerable populations if they are informed by variations in mortality rates.

Read and download Global, regional, and national burden of suicide mortality 1990 to 2016: systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 from the BMJ 

In the news:

OnMedica Suicide death numbers fall over past 30 years

Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2017

Office of National Statistics | December 2018 | Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2017 

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found that mortality rates related to alcohol have risen.  The data analysed  includes only those health conditions where each death is a direct consequence of alcohol misuse (that is, wholly-attributable deaths. Most of these are chronic (longer-term) conditions associated with continued misuse of alcohol. 


Key findings:

  • In 2017, there were 7,697 alcohol-specific deaths in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 12.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • For the UK, alcohol-specific death rates have increased in recent years to similar rates observed in 2008 where they were at the highest recorded.
  • Since the beginning of the time series in 2001, rates of alcohol-specific deaths among males have been more than double those observed among females (16.8 and 8.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2017 respectively).
  • In 2017, alcohol-specific death rates were highest among 55- to 59-year-old females and 60- to 64-year-old males. (Source: ONS)

See also: Public Health Funding to help improve the lives of those affected by alcohol

In the news:

Daily Mail Record number of British women are dying because of alcohol as figures show drink-related deaths are up 15% since 2001

The Independent UK alcohol deaths approaching levels last seen in 2008 recession, ONS data shows

 Guardian Alcohol-related deaths among UK women at highest rate in 10 years

The Telegraph Baby boomers’ drinking blamed for pushing alcohol-related deaths among women to highest ever level