Headlines: September 26th, 2000

The 10 year Plan for improvement of the health service announced in July 2000 has been criticised by Julia Neuberger, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund. She claims that the Plan will not bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.Most of the initiatives to tackle health inequalities are short term and are mainly at the margins of the health service. Some groups of people appear to have been forgotten. The Government’s disappointing proposals on long-term care funding and its focus on preventing ill health among people under 75 leave older people out in the cold.

In order to bridge the rich poor gap there needs to be a more comprehensive strategy and commitment at the top level . Ministers now need to make tackling health inequalities a major priority for everyone in the NHS, as they used to do for waiting list