One in five Jersey deaths could be prevented, says new report from Public Health

One in five deaths was classed as preventable and caused by unhealthy lifestyles. (36691336)

AROUND one in five deaths last year was ‘avoidable’, according to the latest report from Public Health.

The Jersey Mortality Report, published yesterday, showed that 920 people (450 men and 470 women) died in 2022 – 100 more than the previous year.

When ‘standardised’ against population size, per 100,000 people, the figure remains relatively the same as 2021 and significantly lower than England.

And 170 of those deaths – 22% of male deaths and 15% of female deaths – were classed as preventable and treatable, caused primarily by avoidable cancers, and diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems.

The main cause of avoidable death in Jersey was cancer, with around 65 deaths – these included cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung, breast, oesophagus, liver and colon.

Lung cancer remains the most prevalent individual cancer type causing preventable deaths.

Grace Norman, deputy director of Public Health, said that the Public Health Strategy, due to be released next month, would target ‘lifestyle factors’, such as Islanders’ use of tobacco and alcohol, as well as diet.

She added: ‘We already do a lot of work in the food and nutrition space, particularly focusing on children.

‘We go into primary schools and encourage children to eat healthy snacks, fruits and vegetables, and they get rewards for trying different foods.

‘Avoidable deaths are absolutely the most important element of this report.

‘These are the ones that are premature and that we can do something about by changing those lifestyle factors.’

What is an avoidable death?

Avoidable mortality is based on the concept that premature deaths (under 75) from certain conditions should be rare and ideally should not occur in the presence of appropriate public health interventions.

For example, deaths from asthma could be prevented by better management of the condition including personal asthma plans for patients, timely reviews of asthma care, and the prescription of more appropriate drugs.

Other findings

  • The average age of death for Jersey residents was 79.

  • Cancers remain the main cause of death in Jersey at 31%.

  • The main causes of death – cancers, and diseases of the circulatory system – have remained the same since 2007. These two causes accounted for 54% of all deaths in 2022.

  • Covid-19 was the underlying cause in 4% of deaths – a similar figure to England.

  • There were around 130 deaths of individuals of working age (aged 16 to 64), and 290 were premature deaths (occurring before 75).

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