UK: Health professions pledge action against health inequalities

March 24, 2013


In the United Kingdom, over 20 bodies representing health professionals have pledged to do more to tackle health inequalities through direct action on the social determinants of health. The health professionals have committed themselves to develop action on inequalities in healh.

Their commitments are included in the report Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals, published by the Institute of Health Equity (IHE) of the University College London. 

Underutilised role

According to the executive summary, this report demonstrates that the health-care system and those working within it have an important and often underutilised role in reducing health inequalities through action on the social determinants of health. “The health workforce are, after all, well placed to initiate and develop services that take into account and attempt to improve the wider social context for patients and staff.”  

Practical actions

The report discusses the best ways to reduce inequities through workforce education and training, practical actions to be taken during interactions with patients, ways of working in partnership, and the role of advocacy. It also includes a section on the health system, which analyses which mechanisms and structures are supportive of actions to reduce health inequality, and where further development might be needed.

The report also provides statements for action developed by health professional organisations which seek to give practical accessible tools for particular professionals to develop and use in their roles. These commitments will form the basis of a continued programme of work for the IHE.

Source: British Medical Journal and website IHE

Download the report (PDF)