Health Inequalities: Office for Health Improvement and Disparities — [Derek Twigg in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 26th January 2022.

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Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Labour, Bootle 2:30 pm, 26th January 2022

I am pleased that my hon. Friend asked that question, because it is one that has been asked many times, and I am sure the Minister will cover it—it is one of the questions I have as well.

The UK vaping industry said:

“It is absolutely critical that the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities continues the pragmatic approach of Public Health England in recognising the role of vaping in tackling inequalities. It is essential that the institutional knowledge of PHE is not lost in the establishment of the OHID”

It is important that that is factored into these debates.

The House of Commons Library referred to the debate on health inequalities versus disparities. Jabeer Butt of the Race Equalities Foundation has welcomed the institution of the OHID and the possibility of working alongside it, but he said:

“With the establishment of OHID, we can’t help but wonder why the language used by the Health and Social Care Secretary talks about ‘health disparities’, compared to Professor Chris Whitty, who describes ‘health inequalities in the Government announcement.”

This is not just about semantics. It is important that we recognise that it is about not just disparities but health inequalities as well.