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Health Inequalities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:32 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 4:32 pm, 4th March 2020

I ask the hon. Lady to bear with me for just a minute.

It is important that we improve those with the worst-affected health the fastest. It is unacceptable that a man born in Blackpool today can expect 53 years of healthy life, while a man born in Buckinghamshire gets 68 years. We know that there is also inter-area variation, which is unacceptable. We have an opportunity to seize the initiative to do this across the country. The ageing grand challenge is to ensure that everybody can enjoy a further five years of healthy life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between rich and poor.

We set out our intentions in the prevention Green Paper published last year. The public consultation closed in October, following significant engagement. We had some 1,600 responses, which is more than double the average the Department usually receives from such public consultations. We are analysing the responses and developing our reply, which we will publish shortly. We want to shift the focus from treating illnesses to preventing illnesses and driving healthy lives. The NHS long-term plan contains commitments that outline the role the NHS can play in supporting that shift.

We are passionate, and I am passionate, about our commitment to an NHS that is fit for the future. That is why we are funding it with an extra £33.9 billion.