Tag Archives: Health Inequalities

“Almost every day now the media carries stories about inequality and its effects. In the past few weeks, the Department for Health has confirmed that the health gap between rich and poor in England is growing. Reports by Lloyds Bank and the Social Market Foundation have drawn attention to our disparities in wealth, with a tenth of adults owning half of the country’s wealth while 15% own nothing or have negative wealth. Respected independent ‘thinktanks’ like the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation have repeated their warnings that, at a time when wages generally are only growing slowly, […]
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Councils can make a huge contribution to tackling health inequalities across Scotland. The interaction and relationship with the Scottish Government is pivotal to making a difference. National recommendations for action: Funding: Reform the resource allocation to local authorities to ensure that it is based on socioeconomic circumstances of communities. Income: Reform Council Tax and create fairer local taxation. Structures: Further work to reform local authority structures -balance between local and regional services and integration with wider public services, particularly the NHS and public health services. Local recommendations for action: Priorities: This is about priorities and decisions. Tackling health inequalities should […]
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This is a slightly edited version of Chapter 6, the discussion of health inequalities policy, from the book Health Divides. The printed version is fully referenced. Previous chapters have explored the relationship between health and place across different scales showing consistent evidence of spatial inequalities in health within local areas, between the regions and countries of the UK, as well as within and between countries internationally. They have shown that the causes of geographical inequalities in health are complicated and multifaceted, a combination of compositional (people), contextual (environment) and ultimately political and economic factors. This chapter examines how public policy has […]
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Whether e-cigarettes can help address health inequalities will depend on take-up in deprived communities – but cost and ‘faff’ are discouraging deprived smokers from switching, according to new research. The study involved community-based research in the North East of England with smokers and quitters over three years from 2012 to 2015. Research participants bought both tobacco and electronic cigarettes largely through informal outlets and personal networks – but for the very poorest, cost was a barrier to any e-cigarette use. Although £10 would buy a starter tank and e-liquid, smokers could get a week’s worth of illicit rolling tobacco for the […]
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Health inequalities today are unfair or unjust differences in health determinants or outcomes within or between defined populations. Determinants are the causes and influences; outcomes  are diseases and states of health Health services are  thought to influence about 30-40% of  health status Unfair or unjust differences in health determinants: The world’s richest 85 people have a combined net worth of US$110 trillion – equal to the total assets of the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population: about 3.5 billion people Unfair or unjust differences in health outcomes in England – all cause mortality (in under 75s), 2006-08   Public policy determinants […]
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While it can be politically expedient for governments to engage with health inequalities, in a neoliberal world they struggle to realistically propose actions which will substantially reduce them – such as tackling power inequalities, patriarchy-sustaining institutions or class inequality. A dominant ‘policy paradigm’ prioritising economic growth restricts even their ability to imagine alternative, equitable scenarios. In this context, politicians, policy makers and some researchers have devised a parallel fantasy world in which proximal, downstream and easily tackled exposures are put forward as viable solutions to the causes of health inequalities (and sometimes even positioned as the causes). The consequence of this […]
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In the 1976 film All the President’s Men, the informant, Deep Throat, advised the investigative journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, to “follow the money” if they wished to get to get to the bottom of what was going on. And the same advice is likely to apply if we are to evaluate national and local government policy priorities in addressing inequalities. The vast bulk of public spending in Wales is undertaken by local health boards and local authorities. Probably correctly, the Welsh Government has decided that “big is best” in terms of the size of the these bodies to delivery these […]
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Persistent health inequalities in Scotland is a scandal and our foremost national shame. We are experts at describing health inequality, but dismal at fixing it. A new report by the Health Inequality Commission takes the radical path of offering solutions. Allowing so many people to die or become ill earlier than their neighbours because of a simple accident of birth underpins our national ignominy in this policy field. We know both what causes and what will solve health inequality. As a society we comment and frown about how terrible unequal health outcomes are, but we don’t devise, and then put […]
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This evidence review analyses data from the World Health Organisation’s Detailed Mortality Database, and summarises the literature to show that: the leading causes of death change across the life course there are marked social inequalities in each of the leading causes of death (within top 5 broad causes), by total number of deaths, across the life course social and economic circumstances from birth accumulate and impact a person’s likelihood of an early death different mortality rates for the leading causes of death are evident across comparative European countries. This evidence is summarised for specific age groups across the life course […]
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Health inequalities are one of the most pernicious and tenacious challenges that any government, and wider society, has to address. And judged by the coalition government’s own commitment “to increase the health of the poorest, fastest”, there are good reasons to be critical of its track record on health inequalities. Various institutional tweaks and changes have led to a plethora of disconnected strategies in the approach to health inequalities. New central bodies such as NHS England and Public Health England have been created, while the Department of Health has seemingly lost its strong oversight function and the public health subcommittee […]
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by Ted Schrecker and Clare Bambra Within the small local authority of Stockton-on-Tees in the North East of England (population 192,000), the difference in male life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas is 17 years – comparable to the difference in average male life expectancy between the UK and Russia or Senegal.  In Washington, DC around the turn of the century, the difference in male life expectancy between the poor (and predominantly black) southeast of the city and the wealthy, overwhelmingly white suburbs in Maryland was even larger (20 years). These health inequalities reflect underlying social and economic inequalities.  […]
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Yet another study has just been published showing that the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the world. In their report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that ‘widening income inequalities is the most defining challenge of our time’. Forty years ago, 5 per cent of income went to the highest 1 per cent of earners. Today it is 15 per cent. Spare a thought for our cousins across the Atlantic; in the US the figure has risen from 8 per cent to 20 per cent. This trend of increasing income inequalities has occurred in most high […]
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