We accepted the findings of “Fair Society, Healthy Lives - the strategic review of health inequalities in England post 2010” (the Marmot Review) in the public health “Healthy Lives, Healthy People” (2010).
The review identified a social gradient in health—where the lower a person's position, the worse his or her health. Action, it said, should focus on reducing the gradient—and be proportionate to the level of disadvantage. We have adopted this approach. For example, in our maternal and child health programmes by increasing by 50% the number of health visitors by 2015, and more than doubling the number of places on the Family Nurse Partnership programme, which supports vulnerable first-time mothers.
We also helped establish and sponsor the UCL Institute of Health Equity—led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot. The Institute is continuing to develop the evidence on health inequalities, promote good practice and support policy development to help deliver this agenda.
We are putting health inequalities—and the poor health outcomes that result—at the heart of everything we do across the health system, working with Public Health England and NHS England, and backed it by new legal health inequalities duties.