Health and social care in BLMK

Some facts and figures

Health and wellbeing across BLMK


  • Life expectancy is better than the national average in Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire, and worse or similar in Luton and Milton Keynes, but there are large inequalities in life expectancy across BLMK, depending where people live.
  • One in five children are overweight or very overweight by the age of five, rising to one in three by the age of 11.
  • Smoking remains the single greatest preventable cause of ill health and early death, and 1 in 10 expectant mothers smoke.
  • Alcohol-related hospital admissions are rising across BLMK.
  • The four main causes of early death are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Depression and severe mental illness is rising.
  • The 85+ age group is predicted to grow faster than the rest of the population in the next 20 years.

Care and quality in across BLMK 


  • GP practices in BLMK have more registered patients per GP than the national average, which can mean some patients have difficulty getting an appointment.
  • Our workforce is ageing and we face challenges recruiting health professionals
    in primary, community and social care.
  • Patients are not always clear how to access urgent care services, with a number of different organisations operating NHS 111 and GP out-of-hours services across BLMK.
  • Hospitals are struggling to meet demand while maintaining national standards.
  • Ambulance performance, in particular their ability to meet national standards for attending emergencies, is under severe pressure.

Funding and finance across BLMK


  • The current combined annual budget for health and social care is £1.33bn (see the chart on the right for a breakdown of how this budget is used).
  • The good news is that we expect to see this funding rise to 1.67bn by 2020/21, an increase of 26%.
  • The not so good news is that, if we don’t change anything, this increase will be absorbed by rising demand for services.
  • If we don’t make changes, by 2020/21 our spending will exceed our income by £311m a year.