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We've joined the Inequalities in Health Alliance

We're delighted to have been accepted as a member of the Inequalities in Health Alliance (IHA).

Inequalities in Health Alliance logoLed by the Royal College of Physicians, the Inequalities in Health Alliance (IHA) is a coalition of 170+ organisations  with an interest in improving the health of the UK. The IHA was formed to campaign for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities, and together we’re asking the government to do three things:

  • To develop a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities

The IHA believes a cross-government strategy is required because health inequality is the result of many and varied factors.  As the secretary of state for social services said in his foreword to the 1980 Black Report, “the influences at work in explaining the relative health experience of different parts of our society are many and interrelated.”  All parts of government and public services need to prioritise the reduction of health inequality.

  • Consider what’s called the “socio-economic duty” in the Equality Act 

The socio-economic duty is key to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people, who can all too often be forgotten, are considered in every decision. This is vital, so that the impact of policies made at the highest level of government on the poorest in society are weighed up before final decisions are made. This gives the best chance at avoiding unintended consequences falling disproportionately on the most disadvantaged.

  • To adopt a ‘child health in all policies’ approach

The importance of early years for how adult health outcomes is also well known. The pandemic has reminded everyone of the importance of general good health: for example, more and more children becoming obese in the past has led to an increased risk of dying from covid now.  The IHA wants to see better preparation for future pandemics, and to make sure that all public policy is focused on making sure every child in the country has the best chance of good health throughout their life.

Public wants health prioritised

It’s also clear that these issues are important to the public. In 2020, the IHA commissioned a public opinion poll by Populus, which found that:

  • 81% agreed that there should be a UK government strategy to reduce health inequality
  • 78% agreed that all UK governments should have to consider the impact of their policies on the less well-off

When asked which one aspect of health inequality concerned them the most, 24% said access to health care, followed by the prevalence of poor mental health at 17% and long-term health conditions at 16%.