21/11/2011

Institute Launches To Tackle Health 'Inequalities'

The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has launched an institute aiming to reduce health inequalities on Monday.

The new University College London (UCL) Institute will use "social determinants" to address the problem and will receive £1 million funding from the Department of Health over the next three years to take action that will reduce health inequalities in England. The Institute, which will be called the Institute of Health Equity, will also be supported by UCL, the BMA and independently commissioned projects.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “A stark picture has emerged in this country over the past 20 years of a growing divide in the health outcomes between rich and poor. For example, men living in Blackpool can expect to live on average 11.5 years less than men living in Kensington and Chelsea.

“The Public Health White Paper already incorporates a social determinants approach as we are creating a new public health system that will improve people’s health and wellbeing and reduce the health inequalities that exist across the country.

“The new Institute of Health Equity will provide invaluable advice and support for local organisations and health professionals during the transition to this fairer system.

According to Mr Lansley, the institute will collect the latest evidence, provide expert advice and share best practice both locally and internationally. It will build on previous research and reviews led by Professor Michael Marmot such as The Whitehall Study and the Fair Society, Healthy Lives review, which underpinned the recent Public Health White Paper.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity said: “The UCL Institute of Health Equity has a global remit to ensure population health is improved and health inequities are reduced within and between countries, through action on the social determinants of health. To enable individuals to be in control of their own lives action is needed on the social circumstances in which we are born, grow, live, work and age.”

(DW)

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