The pandemic has exacerbated deep-seated inequalities prevalent in society and leaders across the health and care system are now coalescing around the shared aim of narrowing the significant gaps in access and outcomes faced by key groups and communities.

For the first time, this is being consistently underpinned by a national policy framework which prioritises health inequalities and empowers trusts, in partnership with their local systems, to design concerted action on health inequalities into their plans for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. New legislation, with its focus on collaboration and place, appears to offer a genuine opportunity for long-term momentum.

However, over the coming months national leaders will ultimately need to set out a long-term framework for taking these actions further in a way that sustains improvements made in health inequalities.