Disparities in health widen between rich and poor in England

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 18 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:419
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. London

    Social disparities in health outcomes in England have been widening, not narrowing, in the early years of the government's drive to reduce class inequalities in health by 2010, says a status report commissioned by the Department of Health.

    In 2002 the government set a target to reduce by 10% the degree to which the fifth of local authorities with the worst figures in infant mortality and life expectancy fall below the national average, compared with a 1997-9 baseline figure.

    But the class gap in health has actually been growing, the statistics show. In 2001-3 infant mortality among the families of “routine and manual” workers was 19% higher—at six deaths in every 1000 live births—than the national average. In 1997-9 infant mortality in this social group had been 13% higher than the national average and in 1999-2001 it had been 17% higher. Infant mortality …

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