Health inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society. They arise because of the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. These conditions influence how we think, feel and act and can impact both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Within this wider context, healthcare inequalities are about the access people have to health services and their experience and outcomes.
In January 2019 the NHS Long Term Plan was published setting out key actions the NHS would take to strengthen its contribution to reducing healthcare inequalities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a harsh light on these long-standing inequalities; disproportionately impacting many who already face disadvantage and discrimination. A central part of responding to COVID-19 and restoring services is to increase the scale and pace of NHS action to tackle healthcare inequalities to protect those at greatest risk.
Established in January 2021, The National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme (HiQiP) works with other programmes and policy areas across NHS England, as well as with partners in the wider system, patients and communities, to deliver exceptional quality healthcare for all; ensuring equitable access, excellent experience and optimal outcomes.
Responsible for setting the direction for tackling healthcare inequalities, HiQiP creates a positive improvement culture which uses data to target action to reduce and prevent healthcare inequalities.
You can read more about the programme, including why this is important, the approach we’re taking and our latest achievements throughout this section. We have also provided some helpful guidance and resources to assist people working to tackle health/healthcare inequalities across the health system and beyond.
- What are health inequalities
- Our approach to reducing healthcare inequalities
- Data and insight
- Guidance and support
- Core 20PLUS5