Book News: June 21st, 2005

This Guide from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence sets out a systematic method for reviewing the health issues facing a population, leading to agreed priorities and resource allocation that will improve health and reduce inequalities. It can be used to provide evidence about a population on which to plan services and address health inequalities. It provides an aid for cross-sectoral partnership working and developing creative and effective interventions.The government is committed to reducing health inequalities by 10% by 2010 as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth.

Benefits from undertaking an assessment include strengthened community involvement in decision making, improved team and partnership working, professional development of skills and experience and improved communication with other agencies and the public. The challenges confronting those who become involved in the assessment process include working across professional boundaries in a way that overcomes reluctance to share both power and information, developing a shared language between sectors, obtaining commitment from ‘the top’ and maintaining team impetus and commitment.

The Guide is available at: