30 Sep 2022

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is proud to be a signatory of the Inequalities in Health Alliance’s (IHP) letter to the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Therese Coffey, urging her to commit to a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities.

Everyone within the United Kingdom should have access to the same high level of care and standard of health regardless of where they live, their income, their gender, or their ethnicity. Sadly, the BDA does not believe this is the case now, and it is vital that the Government identifies where the problems are and begin working to deliver a solution for how we can prevent people developing preventable health care issues.

The NHS is estimated to spend at least £2.5bn a year on treating illness directly linked to cold, damp & dangerous homes. Rising energy bills have led to 69% of Brits feeling more worried about their ability to stay warm and healthy at home this winter compared to last. These are issues that we should not be facing within a modern United Kingdom and is unacceptable.

Liz Stockley the CEO of the BDA said, “I’m proud to be supporting the letter to the Secretary of State, but saddened that it is necessary. The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the inequalities that exist within our NHS and our society. It is the duty of health care professionals, health care bodies, the NHS, and most of all the Government to tackle this.

“It is frankly unacceptable that someone should receive a lower quality of care or additional health issues due to factors completely out of their control. Issues such as poor housing, lack of educational opportunity, child poverty, communities and place, employment, racism and discrimination, transport and air pollution are all things that can and do have a detriment on people’s health.

“The cost-of-living crisis is only going to exacerbate this and I hope that the Government listens carefully to what we and the IHA have said in this letter and take the urgent cross-Government action needed to ensure equality in health.”

The BDA is one of 200 organisations that are part of the IHA that are campaigning to reduce health inequalities within the UK. You can support our work by retweeting our and the @RCPhysicians tweets, using #EverythingAffectsHealth.

Together we can confine health inequality to the past where it belongs.