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Inequalities In Health

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken to implement the recommendations of the Black report on inequalities in health; and if he will make a statement.

Since the publication of the Black report in 1980, a copy of which is available in the Library, a number of preventive and health promotion measures have been introduced. These have contributed to an overall improvement in the health of the nation and life expectancy and a reduction in infant mortality to an all-time low. Programmes for breast and cervical screening and vaccination and immunisation have been important factors along with targeted health promotion schemes by the Health Education Authority, such as the "Look After Your Heart Campaign". The Government will continue to promote the equitable distribution of health services throughout the country and ensure these are available to all.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been sponsored by his Department into social inequalities in health since the publication of the Black report by (a) the Medical Research Council, (b) the Economic and Social Research Council and (c) any other research body.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the main public body funding research in this area. A major programme of work has been funded by the council at the centre for health economics, York, which covers studies on:

intergenerational inequalities in health;
gender and race inequalities;
use of health status as an indicator of social position;
and the role of health status in the process of social mobility.
Other projects funded by ESRC include:

development of new techniques for measuring inequality in health;
an econometric technique to examine the relationship between individuals' states of health and socioeconomic factors such as housing conditions, income, occupation, education, employment status, and so on;
restructuring health care provision in England: its spatial implication;
and distributional consequences of changes in United Kingdom health policy.