Intended for healthcare professionals


Government will not meet its health inequalities targets in England

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 20 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:633
  1. Adrian O’Dowd1,
  2. Rebecca Coombes2
  1. 1Margate
  2. 2London

The government has failed to reduce the gap in life expectancy between people living in the richest and the poorest areas of England, a Department of Health report has found.

The government’s third update of the Tackling Inequalities: A Programme for Action strategy of 2003, shows that overall health is improving, with increased life expectancy for all social groups and falls in infant mortality.

But life expectancy in the most deprived areas has increased by just 2.5 years for men and 1.5 years for women in the past decade. This means that the life expectancy of people living in poverty has fallen further below the national average.

Babies born to poor families …

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