By Nick J. Spencer, Elizabeth Dowler
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Additional resources for Challenging health inequalities : from Acheson to 'choosing health'
1999a) ‘Socioeconomic status and birth weight: comparison of an area-based measure with the Registrar General’s social class’, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol 53, pp 495-8. , and Gill, L. (1999b) ‘Trends and social patterning of birthweight in Sheffield, 1985-94’, Archives of Disease in Childhood, vol 81, pp F138-F140. H. and Tverdal, A. (2004) ‘Can cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyle explain the educational inequalities in mortality from ischaemic heart disease and from other heart diseases?
As the lyrics to its campaign tune said, it thought that it had found the cause of all that was wrong in Britain and that it was the party that would be the cure to the disease of prejudice and greed. It was going to be an angel – and things could only get better. Thus it was surely a good sign that before the May 1997 election it had announced that it would launch an independent inquiry into inequalities in health. 31 Challenging health inequalities The inquiry was launched in July 1997, with Tessa Jowell, the new Minister for Public Health, criticising the health strategy of the previous administration for ‘its excessive emphasis on lifestyle issues’, which ‘cast the responsibility back on to the individual’ (DH, 1997).
Towards a national target The prevention and inequalities MAT was concerned with work on health inequalities. Led by Yvette Cooper, the Minister for Public Health, it considered a range of issues through a series of presentations. The MAT team was encouraged to think freely and was not burdened with terms of reference. The MAT presentations were designed to act as a spur to discussion and emergence of ideas. They were designed to absorb the lessons from practitioners about what was needed and what worked, and from experts about the evidence and the systems.