Identify effective actions

Your role in reducing health inequalities

We have produced two publications that offer practical actions to allow healthcare planners and managers to consider health inequalities in the early stages of developing plans and priorities.  They will help you ensure the best attainable health outcomes for both the people and communities you serve and the staff you employ.

Both publications focus on the key areas for reducing health inequalities listed below, along with practical actions. 

  1. Provision of quality services with the allocation of resources proportionate to need. 
  2. Training the workforce to understand their role in reducing inequalities. 
  3. Having effective partnerships across sectors. 
  4. Employment processes. 
  5. Procurement and commissioning processes. 
  6. Leadership and advocacy. 

One publication is for staff working in NHSScotland and the other is for Health and Social Care Partnerships. 

What works and what doesn't

Our Health Inequalities Policy Review sets out what works, and does not work, to reduce health inequalities.

There are four key findings from the Policy Review.

  1. Tackling health inequalities requires a combination of action to undo the fundamental causes, prevent the harmful wider environmental influences and mitigate (make less harmful) the negative impact on individuals.
  2. To be most effective at both improving health and reducing health inequalities, interventions need to focus at a structural or regulatory level.  This means making changes to the context in which services operate.
  3. Providing universal services with added intensive support for vulnerable groups (proportionate universalism) is effective in improving health and reducing health inequalities. 
  4. There is evidence that interventions which require individuals to opt-in and those which involve significant price barriers may assist in improving health, but tend not to be effective at reducing health inequalities.

Additional sources of support

There are several sources of support to identify effective actions.

  • You can access effectiveness evidence resources through, for example, NHS Evidence (external site) or Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (external site).
  • You can access our Evidence Briefings which provide accessible summaries of current evidence and thinking on specific subject areas. These briefings are produced to inform policy and strategy development, practice, and to provide access to evidence through a number of partner websites.
  • You can build your skills and knowledge around finding and critically appraising research evidence through one of the many courses available in Scotland, such as the ones provided by Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (external website) or the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) (external website) provided elsewhere in the UK.