The MHF has expressed concern at a lack of joined-up thinking at the heart of government health policy following the publication at the beginning of the week of the generally welcome new White Paper, 'Our Health, Our Care, Our Say'.
'Rather like Eric Morecambe, the Department of Health seems to be doing all the right things — but not necessarily in the right order,' said MHF chief executive Peter Baker.
From next April, all public authorites (including all NHS bodies) will be bound by the new statutory duty in the Equality Bill, to 'promote equality of opportunity between men and women'. Clearly this could have a big impact in addressing health inequalities just as a similar duty with regards to race has helped reduce racial inequalities.
'However, this landmark development in the provision of public services is acknowledged just once in the 227 pages of the White Paper - a document which, ironically, tells us that the 'need to do more to tackle inequalities' is one of its four driving priorities.
'You can't see the join? I don't think so,' said the Forum, continuing the Morecambe and Wise theme in its response to the press.
'There are huge inequalities in health between men and women,' Peter Baker explained. 'These inequalities largely (but not exclusively) disadvantage men - with the poorest men experiencing the poorest health of all. The creative and wide-ranging changes outlined in the White Paper will undoubtedly help improve matters. Many of these changes indeed, are of the kind that we have been calling for for some years and, of course, we welcome them.
'Nevertheless it remains bitterly disappointing that they are not underpinned by official recognition of the need to tackle one of the most pressing inequalities of all. It is especially galling that this should happen when the new gender equality legislation — which does recognise that need - is so close at hand.'
The Forum will publish its full response to the White Paper in due course.
Page created on February 2nd, 2006
Page updated on December 1st, 2009