The RCP has welcomed the the Health and Social Care Committee's Prevention in Health and Social Care: healthy places report, which recognises that "places where people live - homes, communities and neighbourhoods - affect their health and wellbeing substantially" and calls on government to do more to prevent ill health.
Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:
“The report from the Health and Social Care Committee concludes in no uncertain terms that we require a whole-government solution to create healthier populations.
“Everything from the air we breathe, the discrimination we face, our education, to our living conditions - including damp and mould hazards in homes - and access to transport and green spaces, impacts our health. That is why the RCP and over 250 members of the Inequalities in Health Alliance (IHA) have long called for a cross-government strategy to address the social determinants of ill health and reduce health inequalities.
“The RCP welcomes the committee’s recommendation that tackling the problems caused by ‘unhealthy places’ will require ‘long-term thinking’ and ‘whole-government solutions, including commitment, leadership and co-ordination from the very top.’
“As the report notes, only by taking action on the factors that make people ill in the first place will we be able to build a healthier society, reduce demand on the NHS and have a more productive economy.”
- The RCP is the convenor of the Inequalities in Health Alliance (IHA), a coalition of over 250 organisations calling for a cross government strategy to reduce health inequalities.
- The RCP submitted written evidence to the first phase of the health and social care select committee inquiry on prevention calling for the inquiry to look at health inequalities and the social determinants of ill health including poor housing, air quality and the marketing of food and alcohol or the availability of tobacco, to employment (including how much money you have), racism and discrimination and transport.
- The RCP published a policy paper in October 2023 reiterating calls for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities.
- A December 2022 survey of RCP members found that almost a third (31%) said they had seen more patients with illness due to their living conditions in the prior three months.