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Inequalities in Health Alliance launches, with Society as a founder member

Published: 26 Oct 2020 in Society news

The Society welcomes today’s launch of the Inequalities in Health Alliance, proudly supporting this coalition as a founder member. The Alliance, which is coordinated by the Royal College of Physicians, is calling on the Prime Minister to develop a cross-government strategy with the aim of reducing health inequalities.
 
Health inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society. The influential Marmot report (“Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 20 years on”), which inspired the formation of the Alliance, notes that life expectancy in England has stalled since 2010, and it worsens with socioeconomic deprivation. Worse still, people in more deprived areas can expect their shorter lives to be marred by greater burden of ill-health. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed existing inequalities: the economic and health burden has been disproportionately borne by those who are already most disadvantaged.
 
The new Alliance creates a powerful coalition of over 80 health, scientific, public health, social care and local authority organisations. In addition to strongly advocating for a national strategy, the Society joins our partners in the Alliance in calling for the triggering of the socio-economic duty, section 1 of the Equality Act 2010, to require public bodies to adopt measures to address inequalities resulting from the social determinants of health, and for a child health approach to decision-making and policy development, given the importance of the early years for life outcomes.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the Society’s President, said:

As a consultant in the NHS and an academic researcher, I am dedicated to giving patients the best chance of a healthy life. The work of healthcare professionals, researchers, and the public funds that are invested in both, are undermined by the serious negative health impacts caused by factors such as poverty and the stress of unemployment or insecure employment.
 
Prevention is better than cure. Health inequalities are avoidable and must move up the Government’s agenda.