19 April 2024

RCP responds to Health Foundation report on inequalities in major illness in England

Hospital Corridor

The Health Foundation’s report Health inequalities in 2040 looks at current and projected patterns of illness by deprivation in England, finding that over the next two decades, cases of chronic pain, anxiety, depression and type 2 diabetes will increase faster in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived.

Commenting on the report, Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the RCP, said: “These projections demonstrate the urgent need for action to tackle rising ill health in the population. We cannot ignore the huge difference in the health of those living in the least deprived areas of the country and those in the wealthiest. Good health spread evenly across the nation is an economic asset.

“Urgent action is needed now to prevent health inequalities deepening and having adverse effects on demand on our healthcare services and the nation’s productivity. We need to address the factors that make people ill in the first place – from poor housing, air quality, and the marketing of food and alcohol, to employment (including how much money you have), racism and discrimination, and transport.

“It will take a concerted effort across all of government to address these issues. The RCP alongside over 250 organisations that form the Inequalities in Health Alliance, is calling for a cross government strategy to reduce health inequalities. Without collective action, ill health in the population is likely to grow, as these figures show.”