Health inequalities

Health inequalities, differences in morbidity, life expectancy and access to health care – have risen to the forefront of the global healthcare agenda. General practice, with its unrivalled access to the heart of communities, has a central role in addressing both causes and consequences of health inequalities in the UK.

Our work aims to demonstrate how GPs can positively influence health inequalities as practitioners, commissioners and community leaders. It contains examples of good practice, relevant national guidance and links to useful resources from other organisations.  

Health inequalities policy paper

In May 2015, RCGP published a policy paper detailing our position on the role of the GP in addressing health inequalities. The paper looked at the actions needed from politicians and the health and social care system to address the symptoms and underlying causes of health inequalities.

Download a copy of the report (PDF file, 1.6 MB)

Despite successive governments committing to tackle health inequalities there has been little improvement in the differences in health outcomes in each of the four nations of the UK. By publishing this paper we hope to answer some of the key questions surrounding the prevalence of health inequalities, and to cement the role of the GP as a central part of the solution to the wide differences in health outcomes.

Other RCGP resources on health inequalities

New commissioning toolkit released September 2013

The RCGP has been working with the Department of Health’s Inclusion Health Board to produce a toolkit on commissioning for socially excluded groups. This is aimed at widening access to health services and contributes to improve the health outcomes of marginalised groups, looking specifically at the homeless, Gypsies and Travellers and sex workers. 

Our guidance demonstrates how GPs can positively influence health inequalities as practitioners, commissioners and community leaders. It provides a number of good practice examples, as well as links to relevant guidance and links to useful tools from other organisations.

A core curriculum for learning about health inequalities in UK undergraduate medicine

This new report is the best available expert consensus on learning about health inequalities in undergraduate medicine. 

It is the result of a Delphi poll of experienced UK medical educators conducted by the Health Inequalities Standing Group of the RCGP, in collaboration with the Institute for Health Equity, UCL.

We hope that colleagues, who develop, organise and deliver medical education in the UK’s medical schools will utilise it.

Health inequalities in Scotland

Produced by RCGP Scotland’s Short Life Working Group, Time to care is a comprehensive, evidence-based position paper addressing Scotland’s continuing problem of inequalities in health.

Useful links