UK report calls for policies to halt growing inequalities in health

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 28 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1471
  1. Susan Mayor, news editor
  1. BMJ

    Health inequalities in England have increased over the past 20 years, reveals a report from an independent inquiry published this week. Inquiry members have recommended that all future policy development should consider the potential for closing the health gap between wealthy and poor members of the population to reverse this trend.

    Sir Donald Acheson, chairman of the independent inquiry into inequalities in health, warned: “We find that although the last 20 years have brought a marked increase in prosperity and substantial reductions in mortality overall, the gap between those at the top and bottom of the social scale has widened.”

    In the early 1970s, the mortality rate among men was almost twice as high for those in social class V (unskilled) as for those in class I (professional). By the early 1990s, it was almost three times higher. This translates into a five year difference in life expectancy. The committee found no evidence that the class differential in infant mortality …

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