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About BLMK

Older couple smilingAlmost 1 million people live in the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) area, and BLMK is one of the fastest growing areas in the country.

The population could increase by nearly 90% by 2050 and the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to double by 2035. We are also predicting higher than average growth in the number of adults aged 65 and over.

As more people in these older age groups tend to have long-term, and sometimes multiple, health conditions, this presents a significant challenge for both health and social care. We are also expecting a higher than average growth in the number of children and young people aged 10-19 years old.

Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are all very different places that are also diverse within themselves.

These differences affect what local people need, from their health and social care services. We work closely with our local hospitals, councils and other organisations in the BLMK integrated care system to develop health and social care services that are truly tailored to local people’s needs.


Health and Wellbeing in BLMK

Here is an overview of some of the characteristics, health and wellbeing trends that we are seeing in our area.

  • There are large inequalities in life expectancy across BLMK, depending where people live. A baby girl born in Central Bedfordshire can expect to live for 84.4 years, more than 6 years longer than a baby boy born in Luton (78.3 years). There is a life expectancy gap of 10 years for men in Bedford Borough, compared to 6 years for women in Luton.
  • One in five children are overweight or very overweight by the age of five, rising to one in three by the age of 11, and two thirds of adults are overweight or obese.
  • 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 are also rising.