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Life expectancy gap widens between rich and poor

The MHF has criticised the already disappointing official figures released last week on health inequalitites.

The figures showed that, despite increased NHS funding, the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor in Britain is widening. For men the relative gap increased by nearly 2%, for women by 5%.

But these headline figures emphasising the change disguise the big gap that already exists between rich men and poor men.

Dr Ian Banks, the Forum's president said:  'Unfortunately the report does not highlight the major inequality of gender. The differences in life expectancy are hugely magnified when the data is broken down by gender. Poor men receive the equivalent of a life sentence for murder through their reduced life expectancy. This is premature male death by postcode'.

Peter Baker, the Forum's director, emphasised what the Forum has been saying to government for some time now. Gender must be recognised. 'It is vital that gender is fully acknowledged by the Government as a dimension of health inequalities,' he said. 'Men's health remains unnecessarily poor and in many ways is getting worse, with the rates of prostate cancer, chronic liver disease and obesity all increasing sharply. Men suffer the greatest health inequalities and the health system must pay this greater attention if we are serious about improving the health of the most disadvantaged groups.'

You can download the executive summary of the latest DH publication Tackling health inequalities: Status report on the Programme for Action here.

Page created on August 15th, 2005

Page updated on December 1st, 2009