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What we say about… Health inequalities

Health disparities · Position statements | June 27, 2023

Our key messages

  • Improvements in health are being experienced disproportionately, with the gap between the best and the worst off widening despite better in overall population health.


  • Better health requires more than just healthcare – it requires improvements in income, housing, education, employment and the environment.


  • A cross-government strategy and sustained structural national policy action are needed to tackle health inequalities.


  • Action on a local level which empower and inform local people can be effective in improving health inequalities and socioeconomic conditions.

Our national recommendations

  • Governments across all four nations should introduce a dedicated health inequalities strategy and should take a whole system, Health Equality in All Policies approach overseen by a cross-government ministerial committee with an independent body created or commissioned to monitor the progress.


  • Funding for LAs should be increased to allow for a more multifaceted approach to tackling inequalities that targets the most disadvantaged.


  • The NHS needs to ensure that prevention, with a focus on health inequalities, forms a key, mandatory and funded part of its plans.


  • Governments across all four nations should implement policies to act on health inequalities caused by harmful products such as smoking, alcohol use and unhealthy food consumption – this could include policies such as extending smoke-free legislation, introducing Minimum Unit Pricing, and acting to curb junk food marketing.


  • Governments across the four nations should implement policies that help to improve the social determinants of health – for example by providing secure and high quality housing, access to a good education, good employment, and a healthy living environment.


  • The experiences of the Marmot Cities and the learning from Health Foundation Implementation Gap inquiry in Scotland should be shared widely and implemented in more regions and we should explore opportunities to learn from – and adopt – other national approaches to tackling health inequities.

Our local recommendations

  • NHS staff should be trained to understand the impact of health inequalities and take a Making Every Contact Count approach to link up people who may have concerns relating to wider determinants (such as housing or debt problems) with appropriate services.


  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessments should be carried out with health inequalities specifically in mind.


  • Local public health authorities should consider using Health Impact Assessments and Health Equity Assessments across all policies.


  • Community engagement should be sought when local public health authorities are developing policy to ensure communities are empowered to influence their own environments.
Download our health inequalities position statement in full
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