Intended for healthcare professionals


Inequalities in health

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 12 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1659

Report on inequalities in health did give priority for steps to be tackled

  1. Donald Acheson, Chairman
  1. Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health, London SE1 8UG
  2. Division of Child Health, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TQ
  3. Department of Social Policy, University of Bath, Bath

    Editor—The editorial by Davey Smith et al1 devoted to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health2is welcome in many ways but gives a misleading account of some aspects. The authors give the impression that the 39 recommendations were presented without any priority being given. In fact, we selected three clear priorities, which are the focus of our first three recommendations. These are paraphrased in the synopsis as follows:

    “There are three areas which we regard as crucial:

    • all policies likely to have an impact on health should be evaluated in terms of their impact on health inequalities

    • a high priority should be given to the health of families with children

    • further steps should be taken to reduce income inequalities and improve the living standards of poor households.”

    The editorial also states that “the key fact that inequalities in health follow closely inequalities in wealth” is underestimated. On the contrary, in addition to nominating the reduction …

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