News in numbers: September/October 2021

20 September 2021

A breakdown of recent community health news, in numbers. Download the PDF, here

More than 3 million calls were answered by NHS England mental health crisis helplines during the pandemic (across 54 trusts). Anyone can call, including parents on behalf of their children

1 in 3 middle-aged people in the UK has multiple health conditions, a study suggests. Health issues among 46- to 48-year-olds included chronic pain, mental health problems and high blood pressure

52% of students who were eligible for free school meals in Wales received GCSE grades between 
A* and C. That figure was 79.3% for those not eligible for free school meals.

In England, independent schools saw the largest increase in top grades – 61.2% at 7 As, compared with 26.1% in comprehensives.

In Scotland, there was a gap of 9 percentage points for National 5 qualifications (a passing grade) between pupils from the least deprived backgrounds (90.2%) and the most deprived (81.3%)

Almost x2 The number of people waiting for heart surgery in England could almost double to 15,384 by February 2022 compared with pre-pandemic levels (around 8400).

Numbers waiting for heart care and diagnosis could peak at around 550,385 in January 2024 (compared with around 225,000 before Covid).

This is without action now – such as investment – says the British Heart Foundation, estimating it will take up to 5 years for the backlog to recover


BBC. (2021) Scottish results day: Record high for A grades as pass rate falls. See: (accessed 13 August 2021). 

BBC. (2021) Wales' GCSE gap widens for children from poorer backgrounds. See: (accessed 13 August 2021). 

British Heart Foundation. (2021) Pandemic backlog of heart care could take 'up to five years' to recover. See: (accessed 9 August 2021).

Gondek D, Bann D, Brown M et al. (2021) Prevalence and early-life determinants of mid-life multimorbidity: evidence from the 1970 British birth cohort. See:   (accessed 11 August 2021).

Mundasad S. (2021) Are middle-aged people more unhealthy than ever? See: (accessed 9 August 2021).

NHS England. (2021) NHS mental health crisis helplines receive three million calls. See: (accessed 11 August 2021).

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