Motion 13 and amendments
Congress notes that before Covid-19, the gap in health life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas was around 19 years. For women in the most deprived areas of England, life expectancy fell between 2010 and 2019. The Health Foundation has estimated that working age adults in England’s poorest areas were almost four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those in the wealthiest areas.
Congress believes that a cross-government strategy is needed because health inequality is not simply a matter for the Department of Health and Social Care or the National Health Service. If we are to prevent ill health in the first place, we need to take action on issues such as poor housing, food quality, communities and place, employment, racism and discrimination, transport and air pollution.
Congress understands that the link between poverty and ill health is well evidenced and that in order to improve health, in-work poverty must be tackled as a priority.
The Health Disparities white paper, which promised such a strategy, was due to be published in 2021 but we are still waiting.
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for:
i. a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequality
ii. access to rehabilitation services, which is a significant barrier for people who could most benefit from rehabilitation. Gaps in rehabilitation provision are particularly evident outside of acute hospital settings. Expanding access to quality rehabilitation in community settings at home, in community hospitals and in care homes has a key role to play
iii. the commencement of the socio-economic duty, section 1 of the Equalities Act 2010
iv. a child health in all policies approach
v. above-inflation pay rises across the public services
vi. the restoration of the real terms value of the public health grant to local authorities, which was cut by 25 per cent since 2015/16
vii. reliable and regular public transport services to health centres and hospitals seven days a week and in the evenings.
Mover: British Dietetic Association
Seconder: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Supporters: Royal College of Midwives; Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association