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'TACKLING HEALTH INEQUALITY A PRIORITY FOR US ALL' - REID

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Health secretary John Reid today published a comprehensive action ...
Health secretary John Reid today published a comprehensive action

plan to tackle widespread inequalities in health across England.

Health Inequalities - A Programme for Action sets out detailed ways

in which the government's strategy to cut inequalities in health can

be put into practice.

The document provides a detailed toolkit for local organisations to

change the way they deliver services to improve the health of

disadvantaged groups.

It covers not just the NHS but local authorities, social services,

education, planning and employment.

Mr Reid said:

'For too long we have been prepared to tolerate glaring differences

in health between different parts of our country and different groups

within it.

'Why should we accept that a man born in Manchester can expect to

live, on average, ten years less than one born in Dorset and that a

woman born in Manchester is likely to live seven years less than a

woman born in West Somerset?

'And why should we accept that manual workers and some ethnic

minorities appear condemned to suffer worse health just through an

accident of birth?

'These differences are not only unfair - they are avoidable.

'Tackling these injustices is a task for us all - for the NHS,

certainly, and my Department. But also for local authorities, the

education system, and the world of work. Most of all, it is a

challenge for local communities themselves.

'The action plan we are publishing today shows how often minor

changes in the way all sorts of services are provided, taken

together, can transform the health of individuals and raise the hope

of making today's inequalities a thing of the past.'

Notes

1) John Reid launched the Action Plan with a visit to Bromley-By-Bow

Healthy Living Centre, East London.

2) The Action Plan is available on the DoH website.

3) The government published its strategy for tackling health

inequality on 15 November 2002.

4) The strategy seeks to achieve the public service agreement (PSA)

target to reduce by 2010 inequalitites in health outcomes by 10 per

cent as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth.

5) This target is supported by two more detailed objectives:

starting with children under one year, by 2010 to reduce by at least

10 per cent the gap in mortality between routine and manual groups

and the population as a whole;

tarting with local authorities, by 2010 to reduce by at least 10 per

cent the gap between the fifth of areas with the lowest life

expectancy at birth and the population as a whole.

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