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Health Inequality

Volume 604: debated on Thursday 14 January 2016

15. If she will discuss with the Secretary of State for Health ways to address the relative inequality of health outcomes for men and women. (903019)

There are gender differences across a range of health outcomes. Women live longer than men, but that gap is closing. The Government are tackling health inequalities by addressing the social causes of ill health and promoting healthier lifestyles, all now underpinned by legal duties. Action is led locally to ensure that there are solutions to local gender and other health inequalities.

Over the past 30 years, female suicide rates have declined from 11 per 1,000 to five per 1,000, but male suicide rates have remained stubbornly high, at 19 to 20 per 1,000, and in that period 130,000 men have committed suicide. What will the Minister do, together with the Department of Health, to tackle that very serious problem?

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Jane Ellison), was keen to be here today, but she is at an LGBT conference. Suicide is the largest cause of death of men under 50, so this is a really important issue. That is why the Prime Minister’s commitment earlier this week to investing in mental health services will be so important in this space.