Commenting on the publication of the Health Select Committee's report on health inequalities, The King's Fund Director of Policy Dr Anna Dixon said:
'The attention this government has paid to health inequalities is welcome. Although all the targets won’t be met, they played a significant role in focusing policy on this important issue. There have been some successes – for example we have seen improvements in life expectancy among the poorest groups and reduced inequalities in access to general practice.
'But the Committee is right that the government has not made sufficient effort to evaluate projects and collect reliable data to establish which interventions work and which don't. Without that evidence it is impossible to be confident that money won't be wasted on ineffective measures in future.
'Unacceptable differences persist in the levels of health and longevity experienced by people from different socio-economic backgrounds. The problems are complex and will require more creative and sophisticated interventions than the NHS has used to date. A sound evidence base is vital if further progress is to be made to reduce health inequalities and to ensure that health services channel their efforts into worthwhile activities.'
Notes to editors:
- Dr Anna Dixon gave evidence to the Health Select Committee’s Inquiry into Health Inequalities on 27 March 2008.
- For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
- The King’s Fund seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.