NHS Providers responds to government announcement to tackle 'biggest health challenges'

28 November 2022

Responding to the government announcement of over £113m to tackle the 'biggest health challenges', Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive at NHS Providers, said:

"Trust leaders across acute, ambulance, mental health and community services in England know funding for public health, medicines and diagnostics is crucial when it comes to transforming patient care and saving lives. But the government must do much more to tackle the root causes of health inequalities and ill-health, such as mental health, addiction and obesity.

"COVID-19 exposed fault lines within our society, where those who were most disadvantaged before the pandemic bore the brunt of the virus and were hit hardest by the measures needed to control it. Now, leaders across the NHS are seeing daily how the cost-of-living crisis is harming people's physical and mental health. In our recent survey, 95% of trust leaders said that cost of living increases had significantly or severely worsened local health inequalities while 72% said they have seen more people coming to mental health services due to stress, debt and poverty.

"It is clear that economic pressures are taking their toll and making longstanding health and racial inequalities even worse.

"So while today's announcement is welcome as far as it goes, government action to address health disparities – and in particular, its commitment to publish a health disparities white paper – is long overdue. We need to see urgent action to tackle the deep-rooted and wider causes of poor health, and help to close the gap in healthy life expectancy between people in well-off and deprived communities – and fast."

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