Sajid Javid promises health overhaul to fight “disease of disparity”

Sajid Javid promises health overhaul to fight “disease of disparity”

Sajid Javid has pledged a new public health approach to tackle the ‘disease of disparity’, after admitting that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed underlying health inequalities in the UK.

The health secretary said the virus has proven that the odds of survival vary widely depending on where a person lives, and during the pandemic healthy people become healthier and unhealthy people become more. unhealthy. “We need to reverse this trend,” he said.

He pledged that the government’s “leveling” commitment would begin by correcting an imbalance in health services.

In a speech in Blackpool hosted by the Center for Social Justice on Thursday, Javid said that now that the UK is past the peak of the pandemic, the underlying health of the country has been revealed.

Where people lived, race, weight and other factors had had a major impact on their impact over the past 18 months, Javid said.

Covid hospital admissions in the most deprived areas of England were almost three times higher than in the least deprived areas and the death rate was 2.4 times higher, while minority ethnic groups accounted for one-third of ICU admissions for the virus despite one-seventh of the population.

“These are the symptoms of a different disease: the disease of disparity,” Javid said. “Achieving our ambition to take health to the next level means tackling our social backlog in mental health and public health with the same spirit and sense of urgency that we have battled the pandemic. Nowhere is this mission more urgent than when it comes to our mental health and well-being. “

He said it was clear that a new public health approach was needed even before the pandemic. “We have an aging population and an increase in the number of people with multiple health conditions. We are living longer, but spending more of our lives in poor health. And the poorer you are, the more proportion of your life is spent on poor health. “

After the government’s winter plan was unveiled this week, including emergency restrictions, Javid declined to say whether people should expect their Christmas plans to be disrupted for the second year in a row.

He told the Guardian that the government would continue to “try to persuade people” who were skeptical of the vaccine or hesitant to get vaccinated to limit the risk of having to reimpose measures.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation charity, said Javid’s diagnosis of the issues was welcome, but action on the broader factors that affected health, such as education, housing and welfare, was essential to resolve them.

“We must now act to follow these warm and welcome words,” she said, highlighting the end of the increase in universal credit, which “would have an impact on the poorest and sickest”. Dixon added: “The key test for the Secretary of Health’s vision will be whether he can develop a cohesive intergovernmental strategy. “

Marianna Mitchell, 51, a former army nurse meeting with other veterans at the community center where Javid gave her speech, revealed her own experience of inequality in health care. “When you try to ask the system for help, it’s not there. I have type 1 diabetes and can’t believe that across the country, depending on the health authority you live under, you get different types of treatment, ”Mitchell said.

She said she was told she could only have two years to live and recently exchanged stories with another veteran with the same condition who lived in Birmingham and received ‘fantastic’ treatment. “It should be the same across the board,” Mitchell said. “Basically I was sentenced to death. I have five grandchildren, I want to see them grow up and get married but at this rate it’s not going to happen.


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