AYPH’s policy fellow, Rachael McKeown, introduces a position statement from the Young People’s Health Partnership, in advance of an upcoming government white paper on health disparities.

We are at an opportune moment in policy making. With the creation of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (formerly PHE), there is now a dedicated government department in England focused on tackling health inequalities. OHID is currently working on a white paper which will set out important commitments for how best to reduce inequalities and improve the wider environment in which people live, tackling the “social determinants” head on. The white paper will outline how the Department of Health and Social Care will meet the aim within the general “levelling up” white paper, which was released earlier this year: “by 2030, the gap in Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest will have narrowed, and by 2035 HLE will rise by five years.”

We know that inequalities in health are embedded early in life and that prevention is key to ensuring that there are more equitable health outcomes for young people. Alongside our partners in the Young People’s Health Partnership (YPHP), we’ve joined together to call on the government to recognise the importance of young people’s health inequalities. We hope that our position statement will help to inform the content of the upcoming white paper on health disparities and any other future decision making relating to health inequalities. We have outlined some key statistics that identify the scale of the problem for young people aged 10-25, with clear recommendations for Government to act on, alongside examples of good practice from within our own organisations.

quote from young personMembers of the NHS Youth Forum recently conducted a survey with young people about their experiences of healthcare inequalities. An overview of their findings and insight about their own experiences are also included in this position statement. Unfortunately many young people face barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare services, particularly trans young people, non-binary young people and young people with a disability. Young people’s experiences make it clear that we need to act now to address widening inequalities and improve access to care and that young people should be involved in discussions on the solutions for solving the problem.

You can download the positon statement in full here. We encourage you to share this with your colleagues and networks to raise the importance of addressing young people’s health inequalities.

The Young People’s Health Partnership represents the interests of young people and young adults aged 10-25. We are a partnership of seven organisations with VCSE networks across England from the youth and young people’s health sectors. Together with AYPH the partnership includes: Brook, British Youth Council, StreetGames, UK Youth, We Are With You and Youth Access. We meet regularly to discuss the topics that are most important to young people’s health. We welcome opportunities to meet and discuss with others, if you would like to get in touch about meeting with us please get in touch: info@ayph.org.uk

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