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MPs urge DH action on gender equalities

The Forum has welcomed the gender-sensitivity in the House of Commons select committee on health's report on health inequalities released today.

MHF CEO Peter Baker, who gave evidence to the committee ahead of the publication of this report, said: 'We welcome the committee's conclusion that government policy on health inequalities should focus on gender, race and age as well as on social class.

'With one-third of men still dying prematurely (before 75 years), two-thirds overweight or obese and developing heart disease on average 10-15 years before women, it is vital that the NHS now makes tackling gender inequalities a priority.'

The committee, which is chaired by Labour MP Kevin Barron, brings together 11 MPs from all parties to discuss health issues.

Among other recommendations, the committee's report says the Department of Health's Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) should have an inequalities focus.

More generally, the report criticises ministers for choosing short-term publicity-friendly initiatives over long-term strategies with the result that the health gap between the nation's rich and poor has widened over the past decade.

Tammy Boyce, from the King's Fund think-tank, told The Independent: 'Ministers don't want to evaluate because who wants to be told millions have been spent on a programme that doesn't work? So they just keep pressing for more innovation. Well, guess what? People on the ground have had enough. They want time and money to figure out what works.'

Page created on March 16th, 2009

Page updated on December 1st, 2009