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Government to tackle health inequalities

Health Secretary, Alan Johnson today announced details of £34m funding for local community projects as part of the Governmentís commitment to tackle health inequalities in society
Health Secretary, Alan Johnson today announced details of £34m funding for local community projects as part of the Government's commitment to tackle health inequalities in society. A Progress and Next Steps document, launched by Johnson in a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, identifies how the Public Services Agreement (PSA) target for health inequalities can be met by 2010. The document announces £34m of extra spending for programmes in 2008-09, including:
  • £19m to improve life expectancy and reduce infant mortality among local communities in disadvantaged areas
  • £15m to help those with the greatest need including children, people living and working in disadvantaged communities and people living with mental health issues.

    Key achievements highlighted in the document include an increase in life expectancy (in England) year-on-year for the last decade to 77.3 for men and 81.6 for women, and a fall in infant mortality rates for babies under one year old from 34 out of every 1,000 births in 1948 to 5 out of every 1,000 births in 2006.

    "Health in the most disadvantaged parts of the country is improving rapidly, but the relative gap is growing and we will do more to reduce it," said Johnson.

    "I have always said that tackling health inequalities is one of my top priorities. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to meet the challenging 2010 targets, but it's also right to look further in the future. To make more progress we need to recognise and accept that health inequalities are everyone's business - not just an issue for the NHS, but for government and society as a whole."

    The document states that in order for sustainable action to be taken, spending in the NHS in England will increase from £90bn in 2007-08 to almost £110bn in 2010-11.

    Proposals to procure 112 new GP practices and to enable every Primary Care Trust to develop a GP-led health centre, which will open seven days a week from 8am to 8 pm, have already been set out by the Department of Health.

  • 9th June 2008

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