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Loneliness a 21st Century Public Health Crisis

January 29, 2016
Public Health

The Local Government Association (LGA) have called for urgent action to address loneliness, which they say is now a ‘major public health issue.’ Charity Age UK, estimate that the issue affects over a million older people in the UK and Councillor Izzi Seccombe, from the LGA, believes early intervention is the key to success.

“Council public health teams are taking action and reducing the need for health and care services in the future. The impact of loneliness can be devastating and costly – with consequences comparable to smoking and obesity,” she said. “This can be prevented with early intervention, which a number of councils are already successfully delivering in partnership with volunteer and community organisations.”

A growing body of evidence suggests the effects of loneliness can place a significant strain on health resources, as well as increasing the risk of premature death by up to 30% and clinical dementia by up to 68%. Some figures have revealed that GP’s see between one and five lonely people every day, with between 10 and 13% of over 65‘s affected.

Working with Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness, the LGA has produced guidance to councils on the subject. A pilot scheme in Rotherham, which uses GP’s to target vulnerable individuals, has proved a success cutting in-patient admissions by 21% and A&E visits by 20%.

You can download a copy of Combating loneliness – A guide for local authorities HERE