Ratna Dutt: ‘A broader approach to health and health inequalities is to be welcomed’

Posted on Tue 31 Jan 2012

Ratna Dutt: ‘A broader approach to health and health inequalities is to be welcomed’
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Turning to external providers, such as housing associations or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and partnering with local or community services, are just some of the solutions outlined in the Future Forum’s latest report on ‘Public Health’. 

Recognising that health issues are frequently connected to broader lifestyle issues, such as poor housing or anxiety about debts, the report suggests that access to healthcare may be improved by substituting these providers for ‘medical’ responses from mainstream NHS services.  According to Ratna Dutt, Chief Executive of the Race Equality Foundation (external website), and a member of Future Forum panel, this “broader approach to health and health inequalities is to be welcomed”.  She continues “A number of the Foundation’s briefing papers have outlined the impact that 'real life’ experiences of poverty or racism can have on the wellbeing of black and minority ethnic communities.  By tackling the ‘wider determinants of health’, we can seek to balance out some of the inequalities that still exist.”  Ms Dutt is joined in this sentiment by Paul Lincoln of the National Heart Forum, who states that “ensuring equality and the reduction and elimination of health inequalities has to be the overriding priority for public health”.

The NHS Future Forum was established as part of the Government’s ‘listening exercise’ on NHS reform in the UK.  The Forum has recently completed a new phase of consultation, gaining further feedback from patients, service users and professionals on four themes relating to the proposed reform of UK health services (information, integration, education and the role of the NHS in public health).  The Race Equality Foundation will respond to each of the reports over the coming weeks.

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