News story

Chief Medical Officer publishes her first annual report

This first of 2 volumes of Sally Davies’s annual report provides a comprehensive picture of England's health.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This first of 2 volumes of the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies’s annual report provides a comprehensive picture of England’s health.

It brings together a number of data sources in one place for the first time and is designed to be used by local authorities and local health professionals as they work together to improve the health of local populations.

Watch Sally Davies talking with report editor Dr Tom Fowler about how her report can be used and particularly how it shows health information at a local level.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“I have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the state of the public’s health, and found some areas where we are doing really well and others where there is still a lot of improvement needed.

“I strongly believe that data and scientific evidence should be at the heart of policy making and advice to Government and have reflected this in the Annual Report. Data should be used to inform our action on public health and to evaluate the effectiveness of that action.

“I hope the data that I have provided will become a major tool for the Department of Health, Public Health England, health professionals and local authorities as they draw up their strategies for improving public health.”

Liver disease on the increase

An important finding to emerge from the Chief Medical Officer’s first annual report is that comprehensive action is needed to address the rising rates of liver disease.

Liver disease is the only major cause of mortality and morbidity that is on the increase in England while it is decreasing among our European peers.

Between 2000 and 2009, deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the under 65s increased by around 20% while they fell by the same amount in most EU countries. And all 3 major causes of liver disease - obesity, undiagnosed infection, and, increasingly, harmful drinking - are preventable.

Other facts in the report

Other facts to note in the Annual Report include:

  • those who live the longest spend the shortest amount of time with a limiting long term illness such as heart disease, diabetes or  osteoporosis
  • 727,000 years of life were lost to cancer in the under 75s in 2010 and 20% of these were due to lung cancer - the single largest cause
  • around a third of adults have 3 or more risk factors such as raised cholesterol, diabetes or are overweight, which increase their chance of poor health. This increases to around two fifths of adults in the most deprived areas


The report looks at important areas of health including heart disease, obesity and cancer, and makes a number of recommendations around access to care and how data can be better used. Recommendations include:

  • Giving better access to diabetes care - only half the people registered as diabetic receive the annual checks recommended by NICE.
  • Non-fatal diseases can impose a great burden on both the individual and the NHS. Public Health England should ensure our capacity to capture data on long term conditions such as loss of hearing, back pain, incontinency and dementia is as strong as current surveillance on the causes of early death.
  • Participants in the new health system must work closely together to increase survival and reduce mortality from cancers such as lung and pancreatic cancer.
  • Nearly 70% of us have 2 or more habits or medical risk factors that are linked with life limiting diseases, for example, smoking, harmful alcohol use or not eating enough fruit and vegetables. Health professionals must focus on tackling these together rather than individually.

About the CMO’s annual report

Each year the Chief Medical Officer plans to produce 2 volumes of her report.

The first, Volume One 2011, is designed to be a surveillance report, bringing together a large amount of data and information about the public’s health. The  second volume, Volume 2, is designed to concentrate on one specific health issue or area in detail.

The  Chief Medical Officer’s annual report Volume Two, 2011, due to be published early next year, will look at infections and infectious diseases.

All of the underlying data used to create the images in this report will be made available at

Read the CMO’s report

Published 21 November 2012