There is debate regarding the role that health care inequalities makes to health inequalities, compared to sectors such as education, housing and income support. However, inequalities in the use of health care threaten the core NHS principle of health care equity (equal opportunity of access to health care for people with equal needs) and tend to conflict with the public’s understanding of what is ‘fair’.
Insofar as differential use of preventive, screening, treatment and rehabilitation services can influence rates of disease, survival and well-being among different groups, inequities in health care may also compound the disadvantages conferred to health status by socio-economic position. This would undermine the second core principle of the NHS: that it should contribute to the reduction of avoidable inequalities in health.
Health services research looks at the role that health care inequalities plays in health inequalities, compared to sectors such as education, housing and income support and is led by the Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR).