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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

The hon. Lady will appreciate that I cannot speak for all Departments, but it is my job to drive home the value of health in those Departments and to ensure that, as she says, we think about the broader consequences across the policy-making piece.

In answer to my right hon. Friend Dr Murrison, smoking does remain one of the most significant public health challenges. It affects disadvantaged groups in particular and exacerbates inequalities. That is particularly apparent when looking at smoking rates in pregnancy. Three weeks ago, I visited Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester to see its smoking cessation work. It started with a much higher than average smoking rate, and having a tailored public health budget in the locality has allowed it drive down into the inequality within the community. It has a specialist smoking cessation midwife to help these young women, their families and their partners give up smoking—for their own health, yes, but also for the health of their babies.