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Health inequalities

baby heart check

Over the last 50 years, there have been impressive social economic and health improvements in this country. People from every class and region are healthier and living longer than ever before.  Unfortunately, not everyone is able to share the benefits of these improvements.  It is essential that everyone is empowered and encouraged to do so.

Health inequalities are unacceptable. They start early in life and persist not only into old age but subsequent generations. Tackling health inequalities is a top priority for this Government, and it is focused on narrowing the health gap between disadvantaged groups, communities and the rest of the country, and on improving health overall.

Concerted action to reduce the health gap permeates our programmes within the Department of Health and is supported across Government. The Secretary of State for health has announced a new comprehensive strategy for reducing health inequalities, confirmed in the Our NHS Our future: NHS next stage review - interim report. The new strategy will challenge the NHS, as a key player, to live up to its founding and enduring values of universality and fairness addressing unjustified gaps in health status, fair access to NHS services for all and good outcomes for all.

Additional links

Health inequalities 2006-08 policy and data update

This document provides an update on progress to meet the health inequalities national target to reduce the gap as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy, by 10% by 2010. It includes an assessment of whether the 70 spearhead area local authorities, which map to 62 PCTs, are on track to meet the life expectancy target.

Health inequalities intervention tool (opens new window)

Developed by the Department of Health and the Association of Public Health Observatories to help local health services in Spearhead areas improve life expectancy and meet the PSA target to narrow the gaps in life expectancy and infant mortality.

Global Health Equity Group UCL (opens new window)

A conference on Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equality through Action on the Social Determinants of Health 6-7 November, 2008

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