J Epidemiol Community Health 66:662 doi:10.1136/jech-2011-200945
  • PostScript
  • Letter

Reducing health inequalities: new data suggest that the English strategy was partially successful

  1. Clare Bambra
  1. Correspondence to Professor Clare Bambra, Department of Geography, Wolfson Research Institute, Queens Campus, Durham University, Stockton on Tees, TS17 6BH, UK; clare.bambra{at}
  1. Contributors CB designed the study and wrote the manuscript.

  • Accepted 13 January 2012
  • Published Online First 9 March 2012

Mackenbach provides a comprehensive and well-articulated analysis of why the 1997–2010 English Labour government's strategy to reduce health inequalities failed.1 This strategy was more ‘systematically developed, better resourced, more stringently implemented and more extensively monitored’ than those of other European countries and lasted for 13 years. Its success or failure is therefore of widespread importance. The key targets of the strategy were to reduce the relative gap in life expectancy at birth (LE) between the most deprived local authorities (called Spearhead) and the English average by 10% by 2010 and to cut relative inequalities in …

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