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    Over the past several years there has been a growing political consensus and convergence by the mainstream political parties in a shared perspective in how to tackle issue mental health and the poor health outcomes experienced service user and their carers from health and care services in a number of areas: Parity of esteem recognising that physical and mental should be the same (but disagreement by the parties regarding cuts in mental health services) Need to improve child and adolescent mental health services Waiting times targets for appointments for access to psychological services Ongoing support for Time to Change the […]
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    “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death,” Bill Shankly, Liverpool FC’s manager between 1959 and 1974, once said. “I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”. Now imagine the newspaper headlines if at the end of the football season three of the biggest English football clubs – Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool – were relegated from the league. If football were really a matter of life and death, this is exactly what would happen. We put together a public health league table which ranks the […]
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    Co–production addressing health inequalities Inequalities in health outcomes and health literacy are not often discussed in the context  of co–production for long–term conditions. Long–term conditions fall more heavily on the poorest in society: compared to social class I, people in social class V have 60 per cent higher prevalence of long–term conditions and 60 per cent higher severity of conditions. This tallies with the Marmot review which reported that the poorest people die on average seven years earlier, but more importantly, they have on average 17 years of disabled living before they die. Social determinants, such as poverty and educational failure are responsible for these […]
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    Brief summary of research findings Dr. Katherine Smith University of Edinburgh Aims: This project set out to study the relationship between the mass of research on health inequalities in the UK and the policy responses which emerged in Scotland and England between 1997 and 2007, a period in which official commitments were made in both countries to reducing health inequalities and to employing research evidence in policymaking. Methods: Review of research literature, documentary analysis of 42 major policy statements, and 61 interviews with academic/other researchers, policymakers, research funders and journalists. Findings: How has health inequalities research influenced policy? Very little evidence […]
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    June 2014 edition of Healthier Scotland, the E-Bulletin of the Socialist Health Association Scotland. Health Inequalities Tackling inequality in health and disease and in life and death is, arguably, the greatest challenge we face as a society. There is still time to submit views to the Commission established by Neil Findlay MSP to find some solutions. Scottish Labour’s new manifesto puts health inequality at the centre of party policy. A series of reports published in recent weeks on poverty and inequality in Scotland is summarised at UNISON’s Public Works blog. They include some recommendations for action as well. Giving evidence […]
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    We are all shamed by Scotland’s poor health record, but we are even more shamed by the wide socioeconomic inequalities in health. Inequalities that see the poorest, most disadvantaged bearing the greatest burden and suffering the most. Health inequalities are the unjust differences in life expectancy (how long we live) that are observed across our communities, cities, and country – differences determined by socioeconomic position or circumstances, determined by the unfair distribution of income, wealth, and power. In the Socialist Health Association Scotland, we believe we must tackle health inequalities that play out in health and disease, in life and […]
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    This article was first published by The Conversation and is reproduced by kind permission of the authors. In the UK today, there are sizeable inequalities in health – and sometimes that gap isn’t just about north versus south. In Stockton Tees in the north-east of England, for example, there’s a 15-year gap in life expectancy between the least and most deprived areas. In London, the gap between such areas is nearly 25 years; and there is a five-year gap between the 10 tube stops between Westminster and Canning Town on the Jubilee Line. Glasgow has an infamous 28-year gap in […]
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    There is still controversy about the plain packaging of cigarettes, and unit pricing of alcohol, but it seems clear that both measures will be introduced eventually throughout the UK.  But there has been relatively little political discussion of public health since the last election. Andrew Lansley claimed he wanted to be responsible for public health, and would leave the NHS to run itself.  “Tactics will be switched from nannying and legislation to nudges and persuasion”, it was claimed.  There was a lot of talk about Change For Life, which was to be funded by industry, and a promise that the […]
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    The late 1960s was a time of ideological confusion when the idea of social progress generally lost the association with science it had in the 1930s. The medical age of optimism began to seem an age of credulity. In 1971 Cochrane (Cochrane,  A.L., Effectiveness and efficiency,  London:  Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, 1971.)  was the first of a series of authors presenting fundamental criticisms of the theory, practice and profession of contem­porary medicine in Britain and North America (Powles,  J.,   ‘On  the  limitations  of modern  medicine’, Science,Medicine and Man 1973; 1:1-30;  Fuchs, V.R., Who shall live?, New York: Basic Books, 1974;  Cochrane,   […]
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    On April 1st 2013 Local Authorities had returned to them after 39 years the responsibilities for Public Health.  This gives them an opportunity to take up the proposals of the Marmot Review. This, we believe in Local Government terms, to have been one of the few beneficial developments within the Health and Social Care Act 2011. This will enable Local Authorities to co-ordinate the wider responsibilities that they have to the community and will also benefit in tackling the serious health inequalities that exist in many communities. This is both in areas that you expect from the statistics in the North, […]
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    Part of our response to the Labour Party Policy consultation June 2012 Health inequalities are a consequence of economic inequalities.  We need to address the cause not the symptoms. Perhaps the NHS can become the first employer that has no more than a 20 fold income  differential for all its staff!! This is basically not an NHS issue, although the NHS is the key stakeholder. It has to do with poverty, inequality and disadvantage and requires a serious effort at social change, not just tinkering with a system that destroys lives and planet. Use the Marmot insights. Combine tackling key health issues […]
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    Councillors in England  have two formal routes to influence the NHS – the Scrutiny Committees and the Health and Wellbeing Board.  We need more discussion about good and bad practice in the running of these committees, which clearly varies widely.  There should be a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and a Health& Well being Strategy which have been publicly discussed for each area. Public Health It’s very easy to get sucked into defending individual NHS institutions, but we think it’s more important in the long term to focus on health inequalities.  Local Councils can do a lot more to address inequality […]
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