22 Feb 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the widening gap in health inequalities and the growing link between poverty and poor health outcomes. The BDA Bwrdd Cymru has joined 33 other organisations in Wales including Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association, Cancer Research Wales, Samaritans Cymru, Community Housing Cymru, and the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru to highlight the growing impact of long-term chronic illness on our society.
A recent poll,1 commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians for the launch of the UK Inequalities in Health Alliance (of which the BDA is a member), found widespread public concern over health inequalities and overwhelming support for action. In Wales:
- 82% of respondents want to see a government strategy to reduce inequalities in health
- 61% think governments across the UK should be doing more to address health inequalities
- 63% are concerned that the health gap between wealthy and deprived areas is growing
- 82% think that all parts of government should have to consider the impact of their policies on people who are less well off, with more than half strongly agreeing
- 25% of respondents selected long-term health conditions as the health inequality they are most concerned about, with 17% opting for poor mental health.
The next Senedd election will take place in May 2021. We are now urging all political parties to commit to developing a cross-government health inequalities strategy with a clear action plan and milestones, working in collaboration with partners across every sector.
A wider strategy is required because health inequality is the result of many and varied factors. It should not sit solely within one minister’s portfolio; tackling it should be a priority running through all government activity and be a priority for all organisations.
We believe that social care and the NHS alone simply don’t have the levers to make some of the other radical changes we know are vital, including action to tackle poor housing, access to education, and poverty reduction, which sit across a variety of government portfolios.
Read the full letter in the links on the left of the page.