Review of Health Inequalities Report

Committee: Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 17 January 2013

ISBN: Only available online

Mandate Report Number: 2011/15

Together with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report, Minutes of Evidence, and Written Submissions


The Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety is a Statutory Departmental Committee established in accordance with paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Belfast Agreement, section 29 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and under Standing Order 48.

The Committee has power to:

  • Consider and advise on Departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • Consider relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of primary legislation;
  • Call for persons and papers;
  • Initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • Consider and advise on any matters brought to the Committee by the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Background to the Review

On 4 July 2012 the Committee held an evidence session with the Public Health Agency on the issue of health inequalities. The Committee learned that although the general health of the population has been improving, the rate of improvement is not equal and is not the same for everyone. Health outcomes are worse in the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland than in the region generally and there continues to be a large difference across various measures, for example – life expectancy, drug and alcohol related mortality, suicide, teenage pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy, respiratory mortality, cancer mortality. The main social determinant of health is poverty.

The Committee was aware that the Department was in the process of producing a new public health strategy. It therefore believed that a review on health inequalities would be a timely piece of work which could feed into the Department’s development of the new strategy. It therefore agreed at its meeting on 4 July 2012 to carry out a review on health inequalities.

The Department’s draft strategy - “Fit and Well: Changing Lives 2012 – 2022” was published in August for public consultation. This document sets out the 10-Year Public Health Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland. The public consultation ran until 31 October 2012 and the Strategy is expected to be published in the spring of 2013.

Download the full report here

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