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Cambridge Public Health


Recommendations for new cross-government action on health inequalities

April 2023

The pandemic compounded pre-existing health inequalities. Life expectancy has stalled since 2011 and the difference between rich and poor has widened. The UK embarked on the first international example of a cross-government strategy on life inequalities in the 2000s but evidence to date has been mixed.

A new policy brief sets out evidence on the effectiveness on the cross-government strategy on life expectancy. It shows that the strategy was successful in closing the gap in life expectancy and infant mortality; however, more could have been done for mental health and healthy life expectancy. 

The brief sets out several recommendations for government: 

  1. Develop a new cross-government strategy aimed specifically to tackle health inequalities through a range of upstream and downstream policies.
  2. This strategy should pay greater focus on inequalities in conditions such as mental health, health-related quality of life and long-term conditions.
  3. The target of this strategy should be clear and easily measurable. Target dates should be relative to the aim itself, with attention paid to the potential latency period between actions and outcomes.
  4. We need to build the evidence base of what works alongside a new national strategy.

Read the full brief: 

Health Inequalities team

For more information about the research pillar please email Professor Mike Kelly


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