To ask Her Majesty's Government what factors cause the differences in life expectancy in different parts of the country; and what proposals they have to reduce those differences.
The reasons for geographical variations in life expectancy are complex and not fully understood. Sir Michael Marmot's government-commissioned review, Fair Society, Healthy Lives(2010, is the latest assessment of the impact of wider social determinants on health-that is, the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, and the way they impact on health inequalities, including differences in life expectancy. We know that the drivers of life expectancy vary at local level and the department has provided a range of tools to help local National Health Service organisations and local authorities to identify the issues affecting local life expectancy and to promote effective action to increase it.
The public health White Paper, Healthy Lives, Healthy People (2010), responds to Fair Society, Healthy Lives. The White Paper sets out that Public Health England (the proposed new public health service) would have a key role in tackling inequalities. The public health budget will be ring-fenced, weighted towards the most deprived areas, to ensure resources are spent on preventative work, such as reducing smoking and harm from alcohol consumption, with incentives to improve the health of the poorest, the fastest.
Following the White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, the Health and Social Care Bill 2011 seeks to introduce new legal duties for the Secretary of State, the NHS Commissioning Board and General Practice Commissioning Consortia to have regard to addressing health inequalities.