36 organisations endorse new joint paper calling on the next Welsh Government to show national leadership on ending inequalities.
With just one week to go before the Senedd election, 36 organisations from across health, social care, transport, and housing have signed up to a joint paper which calls for urgent Welsh Government action on health inequalities. The incredible hardship inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic has not been equally felt by individuals, families, and communities across Wales. For some, the consequences have been devastating.
Endorsed by organisations from across the third sector, including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales, Shelter Cymru, the British Medical Association, Community Housing Cymru, Sustrans Cymru, Macmillan Cancer Support, and the British Red Cross, the paper calls on the next Welsh Government to:
- publish an ambitious cross-government strategy and delivery plan to tackle inequalities
- invest in long-term prevention across all sectors, especially housing, education, health, energy, and transport
- work in partnership with people and communities to change lives for the better.
This paper follows an open letter to the First Minister and Senedd opposition party leaders in February 2021, calling for a cross-government strategy on health inequalities. In reply, the Welsh Government acknowledged that ‘health inequalities arise as a result of the social and economic inequalities that shape the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, learn, work and age … the impact of healthcare on health inequalities is relatively small’ (25 March 2021).
It is time to build on the Health in All Policies approach with a cross-government strategy.
Dr Olwen Williams, Royal College of Physicians vice president for Wales said:
‘As doctors, we’re seeing first-hand the impact of unfair and avoidable differences in health and wellbeing between different groups of people. It’s not at all surprising that when a pandemic piled pressure onto our health system, the people who suffered the most were those who were already struggling. Tackling the social causes of health inequalities has never been more urgent: this is not an issue to be addressed once the pandemic is behind us.’