This report from the Department for Health describes a national improvement in life expectancy over the past decade, but expresses concern that the health of the most disadvantaged has not improved as quickly as that of the better off. Inequalities in health persist and, in some cases, have widened. The geographical gap in life expectancy has risen for women in the last four years, but remained static for men.
Inequality will be addressed by strengthened support to meet the 2010 Public Service Agreement targets, and there will be more action on the factors that drive inequalities. Beyond 2010, the document signals a commitment to develop new ambitions for reducing health inequalities along with the structures, systems and actions to sustain their long-term delivery. New support teams will be developed for infant mortality and alcohol.
The Department and wider government will focus on key areas by investing in early years and parenting, using work to improve health and wellbeing, promoting equality; developing mental health services further, and co-ordinating action, both nationally and locally. A co-ordinated effort is required by national and local government, as well as the NHS, employers and other key players, to work together to create healthier environments.
The report is available from the DoH. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/AdvanceSearchResult/index.htm?searchTerms=health+inequalities+strategy