Latest data shows record levels of health inequality prior to the pandemic The Health Foundation response to the Office for National Statistics data on health state life expectancies by national deprivation deciles

22 March 2021

Commenting on today’s Office for National Statistics data on health state life expectancies by national deprivation deciles (in England 2017 to 2019), David Finch, Senior Fellow at the Health Foundation, said: 
 
‘Today’s data shows that prior to the pandemic there was a gap of almost two decades (19.7 years) in the number of years that women can expect to live in good health between the richest and poorest areas of England. It also shows that, concerningly, while life expectancy for women living in the richest had improved since 2014-16, there was no such gain for women in the poorest areas.  
 
‘These existing inequalities in health are reflected in the unequal impact of COVID-19 where rates of infection and deaths have been higher in poorer areas.  
 
‘As we recover from the pandemic, government efforts to ‘build back better’ must focus on tackling the deep-seated inequalities in health that the pandemic has exposed. Doing so requires coordinated action across government to address the factors that have strongest influence on people’s health and wellbeing, which include having an adequate safety net, children’s services, housing, education and quality work.’ 

Media contact

Simon Perry

Simon.Perry@health.org.uk

020 7257 2093

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