BMA urges MPs to urgently tackle health inequalities in the North East following high Covid-19 death rate

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA. 

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 15 July 2020

The BMA has written to MPs in the North East warning that ‘concerted action’ is required to tackle the ‘entrenched problem’ of health inequalities as the region has suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

In a letter sent to 29 MPs in the region, the BMA North East regional council warn that ‘urgent political action’ must be taken and calls on politicians to ‘champion this much-needed change’.

Noting that the high number of Covid-19 fatalities had ‘undoubtedly shone a light on and further emphasised the pre-existing health inequalities’ in the region, BMA North East regional council chair Dr George Rae said that this ‘unfair situation’ must now be ‘tackled head on’.

In the letter, Dr Rae writes: “Before the pandemic, health inequalities had significantly widened, with the north/south health gap becoming ever more apparent.” He adds: “This trend has been tragically echoed during the pandemic, with Office for National Statistics data showing that people living in the poorest areas of the country are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than those in the richest areas.”

Calling on the Government to adopt a health in all policies approach to understand the impact of government policy on tackling inequalities, Dr Rae writes:  “Action must be taken to address social determinants of health, including ensuring a high standard education for all, providing high-quality housing and delivering good employment opportunities.”

Dr Rae concludes: “There can be no doubt now that urgent, concerted action is required to tackle this entrenched problem. The Government must now act to tackle regional health inequalities as a priority, and as an MP in the North East, I call on you to champion this much-needed change.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Full letter is attached.