The Health Foundation has published an assessment of the Prevention Green Paper by David Finch. Finch calls attention to recent data from the Office of National Statistics:
a girl born in the least deprived 10% of local areas can expect to live 70.4 years in good health, but she would live only 52.0 years in good health if born in the most deprived 10% of local areas – an 18.4-year gap.
Finch draws attention to the importance of halting the downward trend in the amount committed to the public health grant (per capita funding of the grant is set to fall by 25% in real terms between 2015/16 and 2020/21) - as well as areas like social security funding. He proposes legislative approaches to solving the problem:
One possibility is a legislative commitment to improving health. This approach is already in place in Wales through the Future Generations Act, and is currently being mooted by Labour. Another move could be to widen key government metrics of success to include indicators of health, wellbeing and our wider prosperity (not just GDP-based measures) – as New Zealand’s first Wellbeing Budget does. Whatever the mechanism, embedding long-term decision-making at the heart of government is key.
But he also talks about social solutions: the importance of "involving communities in creating activity to support their health".
Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Public Health have come together to try to tackle these "stubborn health inequalities", publishing a new toolkit: Place-Based Approaches for Reducing Health Inequalities.
The toolkit "focuses on how the system can work together utilising civic, service and community centred approaches to reduce health inequalities":
Place-Based Approaches for Reducing Health Inequalities is modular, so users can decide whether they want to understand more about the context and causes of inequality, move straight to the practical framework for tackling health inequalities or access the range of annexes and tools which include:
- practical self-assessment tools to implement the place-based approach
- case studies of existing practice
- guides to local health inequalities data to support decision making