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Welsh Health Equity Solutions Platform

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The Five Essential Conditions

Policies that aim to ensure availability, accessibility, affordability and quality of preventative and health care services and interventions. For example, health protection, health promotion and improvement, primary, secondary and scheduled care.

Policies that aim to provide economic security and support to reduce the health and social consequences of poverty and low income throughout a person’s life. For example, financial support for parents, older people or unemployed.

Policies that aim to ensure opportunities for, and access and exposure to living conditions and environments that have a positive influence on people’s health and well-being. For example, planning, good quality and secure housing, clean air, green spaces.

Policies that aim to develop and strengthen social relations and community assets, including education, skills, community resources and meaningful social interactions to promote learning, and protect and promote health and well-being throughout a person’s life. For example, improving training, apprenticeship, building community cohesion and resilience, trust, sense of belonging

Policies that aim to improve the health impact of employment, working conditions and workplace equality. For example, availability of work, a living wage, physical and mental demands, ensuring health and safety at work.

Attention to health equity* and achieving healthy prosperous lives for all has never been more important. 

Wales has a long history and tradition of upholding universal policies, welfare, sustainability and rights-based approaches to population wellbeing. However, the trends in reducing the health gap are mixed, the rate of improvement is slower than anticipated, and new groups are emerging with disproportionately higher risk of poor health and premature death and disease. 

Health inequities are a longstanding issue in Wales, as they are in many countries around the world. They disproportionately affect disadvantaged people, groups and communities, and their health outcomes, especially among those living in the most deprived parts of the country or those having unmet needs or vulnerabilities. The result is that our societies continue to lag behind in health and well-being, and this in turn holds back their opportunities to live full and prosperous lives.

Health inequities are not inevitable. They arise from inequalities within and between countries and societies, and are the result of many and varied factors including the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and from stigmatization and discrimination, such as racism and sexism. These issues can compound and exacerbate each other, and often result in negative life-long impacts, such as poorer physical and mental health outcomes. 

These same factors have underpinned key pathways in generating inequities in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has not only widened existing health gaps but has also brought about new challenges and new vulnerabilities

We need a better understanding of what is driving gaps in health over time and clearer signposting to the multiple evidence, policies, approaches and tools that will produce the best results for equity in health. Real progress means engaging new partners, building and strengthening alliances, prioritising investment and breaking down the key barriers to success. This knowledge is critical to foster political and cross-sector support for action, to focus on solutions, and to enable honest and inclusive dialogue on why reducing health inequities matters to everyone, enables inclusive economic growth and drives sustainable development and prosperity for current and future generations.

*What is health equity?

Visit the World Health Organization website for more information on health equity

The absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically or by other means such as by sex, ethnicity or disability. Health equity is achieved when everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being.

Get in touch to get involved. We are working with stakeholders and users to update and expand the Solutions Platform with projects, case studies and spotlight features focused on health equity. Contact us to share your projects and success stories, to feature on the platform.