The inequalities of life expectancy are shocking – but still more troubling is the fact that despite knowing how to challenge them, we don’t.

This week I’m continuing my examination of how the NHS long-term plan should be implemented by concentrating on the inequalities of healthcare and outcomes. It may seem odd to describe inequality as a ‘how’ rather than a ‘what’ but let me explain why it is. Disadvantaged people have much worse outcomes than the average. Very disadvantaged people have very much worse outcomes.

So it follows that if we could really do something about those who are suffering the worst we would, by considerably improving the bottom percentile, similarly improve the overall average of any outcomes. Last week the Prime Minister announced a drive to improve cancer survival rates. Given that the disadvantaged will have much worse cancer survival rates than everyone else, the best way to improve survival statistics would be to improve the survival rate of those at the bottom.

So attacking inequalities is a ‘how’ we can achieve any of the outcomes that the plan will be aiming for.

And I want to start this week’s posts on inequalities by encouraging you to read a post I wrote in June of this year. I’m doing this because it seemed to strike a chord with readers at the time and certainly it provoked the biggest response.

I think it was because it contained a practical way of attacking something that most people feel fatalistic about. Yet we know how to do it and if the NHS long-term plan neglects to renew this activity it will effectively be deciding that this is a lower priority than the other issues it is spending its extra money on.

We know how to do this so let’s just do it!

Now read on


(Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash)