Intended for healthcare professionals


Promoting health equity

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 08 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4881
  1. David Hunter, teaching fellow in philosophy1,
  2. James Wilson, lecturer in philosophy and health 2
  1. 1Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
  2. 2Biomedical Research Centre, and Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. d.hunter{at}

New WHO report examines the role that local government should play in Europe

The Commission on the Social Determinants of Health brought the reduction of avoidable health inequalities between social groups to the centre of the political stage.1 Its three key recommendations—to improve daily living conditions; to tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources; and to measure and understand the problem—have been widely welcomed. As the commission itself noted, such recommendations do not by themselves create a world in which all people have the freedom to lead lives they can value. To achieve this goal, sustained and systematic work is needed at national and local levels.

Local government has a key role in delivering health equity, because it typically controls the planning or delivery of such key social determinants of health as education, transport, and spatial planning.2 A recent World Health Organization report builds on the work …

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