DoH failing to hit health inequalities targets

Cuts in health inequalities promised by the DoH by 2010 will not be achieved, latest official figures suggest.

One of the DoH public service agreement (PSA) targets aims is to reduce health inequalities by 10 per cent as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth by 2010, compared to average levels of health inequalities in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

But infant mortality is now 17 per cent higher in socio-economic groups described as ‘routine and manual’ – meaning the father works as a bus driver, car park attendant or labourer, for example – than in the rest of the population. The gap in 1997-9 was just 13 per cent.

Meanwhile, life expectancy in the 70 spearhead local authorities in England has risen more slowly than in the rest of the country. The gap in life expectancy between England and the spearhead areas is now 13 per cent, compared to 8 per cent a decade ago.

A DoH spokeswoman admitted: ‘We are disappointed with some of these figures particularly as we have introduced the most comprehensive programme ever seen in this country to address health inequalities.

‘We need to work harder to address continuing inequalities in male and female life expectancy and infant mortality. For infant mortality, reducing the prevalence of obesity and smoking are priority actions and providing intensive support to those local areas facing the greatest challenge around health inequalities will help achieve the 2010 target.’

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Clinical trials: Microscope in a lab

GPs could be incentivised to recruit patients onto commercial clinical trials

GPs could be offered incentives to recruit patients onto commercial clinical trials...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: How many GPs do we need for safe general practice, pay restoration, the state of premises

Talking General Practice looks at safe working limits and the number of GPs we need...

Stethoscope and a computer

EMIS to keep panic button after outcry from GPs

EMIS, one of the main GP IT system providers, has backtracked on plans to phase out...

Health minister Lord Markham

Health minister Lord Markham: How we will support GPs to offer patients greater choice

Health minister Lord Markham explains what the government's plans for using the NHS...

Patient receives the flu vaccine

Flu vaccination campaign to return to pre-pandemic cohorts this year

This year's flu vaccination campaign is set to be reduced after it was expanded during...

Plant-based diet

Vegan and vegetarian diets can play key role in reducing cardiovascular risk, study finds

Plant-based diets can play a significant role in lowering the risk of stroke and...