Commenting on today's publication of Fair Society, Healthy Lives, the report of the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post-2010, an independent commission led by Sir Michael Marmot, The King's Fund acting chief executive Dr Anna Dixon said:
'This review makes a significant contribution to the debate on health inequalities. Despite a welcome focus on equality by the current government, unacceptable differences persist in the levels of health and longevity experienced by people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
'The problems that contribute to health inequalities are complex and longstanding. It is clearly the role of the NHS to help everyone improve their chances of living longer and healthier lives. But the health service cannot eradicate these inequalities on its own. The onus is on government to address health inequalities as a cross-departmental issue and to support not just NHS efforts but programmes that address the wider determinants of health – like housing, working conditions and early childhood education.
'The political obstacle is that cash invested in initiatives to tackle health inequalities doesn’t produce instant returns. It's imperative that politicians continue to support the reduction of inequalities as a goal, even if the outcomes might not be achieved until after they have left office.'
Notes to editors:
- The King’s Fund experts Professor John Appleby, Dr Veena Raleigh and Dr Tammy Boyce were invited to give advice to the Review during its work. Professor John Appleby sat on the economics taskforce and Dr Veena Raleigh was a member of Working Committee 2. Professor Chris Ham, who joins the Fund as chief executive in April, was a member of the commission.
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