Today, the Trust is proud to announce our involvement in a new coalition of nearly 80 organisations, brought together by the Royal College of Physicians, which has been launched to press for urgent action to address health inequalities.
The Inequalities in Health Alliance (IHA) is demanding a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities: unfair and avoidable differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society. Health inequalities, which may involve differences in access to health care or the standards of care available, can damage quality of life and even shorten life expectancy.
Alongside the Royal College of Physicians, Guys' and St Thomas' Charity, the Health Foundation, the Institute of Health Equity, NHS Confederation, Asthma UK and over 70 more organisations, we are calling for the government to develop a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities, and for the government to use the socio-economic duty, section 1 of the Equality Act 2010, to address health inequalities and to adopt a ‘child health in all policies’ approach.
Research commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians for the launch of the IHA shows widespread concern over health inequalities and overwhelming support for action.
Almost two thirds (65%) of those surveyed by Yonder felt that governments across the UK should be doing to more to address the issue and 81% agreed (52% strongly) that there should be a UK government strategy to reduce inequalities in health.
There are many causes of health inequalities but deprivation is a key factor. Of those surveyed, 78% agreed (50% strongly) that all parts of Government in each part of the UK should have to consider the impact of their policies on people who are less well off. Three quarters (75%) were concerned – 35% very concerned - that the health gap between wealthy and deprived areas is growing (Health Equity in England: the Marmot review 10 years on, January 2020).
The Royal College of Physicians has written to the Prime Minister on behalf of the IHA, and the alliance will be continuing to campaign for urgent action to address health inequalities.
Professor Michael Marmot, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity and author of several key reviews looking at health inequalities, said: “The pandemic has exposed and amplified underlying inequalities in society. Health inequalities are the result. Tackling the social causes of health inequalities is even more urgent now. It is so important that these health care organisations have taken a leadership role in improving the health of the whole of society.”
John Hume, Chief Executive, People’s Health Trust said, “People’s Health Trust are proud to join the Inequalities in Health Alliance, and continue to call on the government to act now to address the unjust and unfair inequalities causing people to live shorter and unhealthier lives than they should. Health inequalities are not new, but the pandemic has exacerbated these for many, and it is vital that there are changes to the systems and organisations which keep people marginalised and unable to live equally in Great Britain today.”
Learn more about the IHA, at https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/inequalities-health-alliance
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