Public Health news: Health Literacy

December 2022

Health Literacy

Health literacy refers to people having the appropriate skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to access, understand, evaluate, use and navigate health and social care information and services.

In England, 42% of working age adults are unable to understand and make use of everyday health information, rising to 61% when numeracy skills are also required for comprehension.

Guidance tells us the average reading age in the North East is lower than the national average at between 9 to 11 years. To put that into context The Guardian Newspaper has a reading age of 14 and the Sun Newspaper has a reading age of 8.

South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are leading the way by acknowledging the problems arising from low health literacy.

We want to empower all our residents to be able to make more informed decisions so they can manage their own health and care more effectively.

We pledge to make sure all our information is easy to understand. We believe this is a basic right and will help make services fair and inclusive.

For more information, see Public Health England: Improving health literacy to reduce health inequalities.