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Health Inequalities

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:18 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 5:18 pm, 20th March 2019

I have been in close consultation about that issue with the recently departed Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, my hon. Friend Sarah Newton. She has really challenged the DWP to look after people who are vulnerable, and put in place safeguarding policies for them, so I confirm to the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire that that discussion is taking place.

My hon. Friend Derek Thomas raised the issue of dementia. Clearly, dementia has a big impact on the number of years in which people can enjoy a healthy life, and we must get that right. For that reason, we have introduced the ageing society grand challenge, which is focused on narrowing those inequalities. My hon. Friend is right that we must have better integration with social care; there have been a lot of moves towards better integration between local authorities and the NHS, and that must continue.

Mrs Hodgson referred to public health cuts. We have tackled those through the NHS forward plan, and have said that this is an area in which we expect the NHS to focus and work collaboratively with local government, specifically highlighting health visitors and the wider public health agenda. My answer to the hon. Lady’s point is “watch this space”, but we recognise that we spend less if we spend wisely, which has to be about getting the system to work better.