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Health department took too long to act on reducing inequalities, MPs say

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c6228 (Published 02 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6228
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

The Department of Health in England has been slow to encourage the NHS to adopt measures to reduce health inequalities and missed an opportunity to boost the number of doctors working in deprived areas when it revised the GP contract, says a parliamentary report published on Tuesday 2 November. It also calls for the new GP commissioning groups to be more accountable for measures to cut inequalities.

The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, a cross party group of MPs that examines public spending, looked into why the health department has failed to reach the target set by the government in 2007 of reducing the gap in life expectancy between 70 “spearhead” local authorities with high deprivation and the population as a whole by 10% by 2010.

Although life expectancy in the whole population has risen, the gap between the national average and the spearhead areas has widened by 7% for men …

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