This letter from the Secretary of State for Health recognises the importance of reducing health inequalities and specifies nine criteria which will be used to assess whether health bodies (including the Department of Health, NHS England, Public Health England, the NHS Trust Development Agency, the Health Research Authority, NHS Blood and Transplant, the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency, the NHS Business Services Authority, and the NHS Litigation Authority) are meeting their duties in attempting to minimise health inequalities, from 2013-14 onwards. There are eleven criteria which will be used to assess such progress on the part of NHS England.
“We have a dual aim: to achieve better average health and more equitable health. This means we must improve the health of the poorest, fastest… We have embedded action on health inequalities within the reformed health system”. (p.2)
Health inequalities: working together to reduce health inequalities and meet new duties. London: Department of Health, January 31st 2014.
Collaboration Between NICE and Public Health England
Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) last year agreed about five areas on which to work together, with the broad aim of improving population health and reducing inequalities.
Statement of collaboration between NICE and Public Health England. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), February 8th 2013.
Earlier Contributions to the Debate
The British Council’s Innovation Unit “Reducing Health Inequalities: the Challenge of Public Health” report suggests that tackling inequalities in public health may be addressed by co-produced services and drawing on the abilities of people to help themselves. It is based on findings from the People Powered Health project, and on international research.
Craig, J. (2013) Reducing health inequalities: the challenge of public health. London: British Council’s Innovation Unit, September 2013.
Health Equity: the Role of Health Professionals (UCL Institute of Health Equity)
The following Institute of Health Equity report discusses the potential roles of professionals in the health system for reducing health inequalities by tackling the social determinants of ill-health. Health inequities might be reduced through workforce education and training, improved discussions with patients, partnership working and advocacy. The report analyses those mechanisms and structures in the health system which may support (or be barriers to) the reduction of health inequalities.
Allen, M. Allen, J. [and] Hogarth, S. [et al] (2013). Working for health equity: the role of health professionals. London: UCL Institute of Health Equity, March 2013.
There is also an Executive Summary.
Narrowing Health Inequalities (CLASS)
The “In place of fear: narrowing health inequalities” document considers the scope of policy required to remedy health inequalities in England.
Dorling, D. (2013). In place of fear: narrowing health inequalities. London: Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS), May 2013.