Transforming Healthcare through Prevention - Ageing Well on a national scale: achieving the balance between fitness and frailty

martin vernon
Professor Martin J Vernon Professor Martin Vernon, MA, FRCP : NHS England National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care, Chair of the NHS England Hospital to Home Programme Board
Where Lee Hall, Wolfson College

"As life expectancy increases, so too does the amount of time many spend in poor health." How do we age well on the national scale?

In this talk Professor Martin J Vernon elucidates the balance between fitness and frailty.

martin vernon

By 2050 one in four people will be over 65, at which age both men and women can expect to spend around half of their remaining life expectancy in good health. However, the likelihood of losing functional ability and living with complex health conditions increases as we age. As life expectancy increases, so too does the amount of time many spend in poor health. In addition, there is significant geographical variation in how people age, driven by wider determinants such as deprivation, worklessness and poor quality housing, leading to considerable health inequality across the country.

Importantly there are substantial economic and organisational impacts on the health and social care system in supporting people whose ageing is problematic. These can be expected to continue to increase in the absence of a sustainable approach to prevention.

For these reasons supporting people to age well are now key priorities for the NHS. Getting this right means ensuring health and social care policies pay particular attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised populations. The NHS Long Term Plan published in early 2019 has now begun to do this in England by deploying frailty as a useful paradigm of problematic ageing which can help in population health management to identify and target those individuals who may be at greatest risk of death, urgent care or permanent care home utilisation.



Speaker Biography

Martin qualified as a medical doctor in 1988 in Manchester. He trained as a Geriatrician and General Internal Physician in the North West and London before becoming a NHS Consultant in Manchester in 1999 where he continues to practice medicine. He has a MA in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College London and continues to teach these subjects.

Martin has held many senior NHS leadership roles including Clinical, Divisional and Associate Medical Director. He has been Clinical Champion for older people and integrated care In Greater Manchester and British Geriatrics Society Champion for End of Life Care. He was also a standing member of the NICE Indicators Committee.

Martin teaches Medical Ethics and Law at Salford University and was appointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Chester in 2016.

In 2016 he was appointed National Clinical Director for Older People at NHS England and Improvement. He has led multiple national workstreams including development of the NHS Long Term Plan Ageing Well Programme published in 2019.

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