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The NHS’s role in tackling poverty

One of the main drivers behind the creation of the NHS was to protect the poorest in society from being bankrupted by the need to pay for care. But the NHS can do more to mitigate, prevent and reduce poverty. This report sets out what the NHS, as the largest economic institution in the country, needs to maximise its contribution to tackling poverty, within its resources and with its partners.

With one fifth of the UK population experiencing poverty and the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic not yet fully realised, this is more important now than ever. The authors identify three key roles for the NHS: raising awareness among staff, developing concerted action to meet the needs of those experiencing poverty and using its voice to advocate for tackling poverty. Across each of these, the NHS needs to work more collaboratively and creatively with its partners and local communities.