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Acheson report on inequalities in health

26 November 1998

The report of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health (chaired by Sir Donald Acheson) was published in 1998.

The purpose of the inquiry was to inform the development of the government's public health strategy and, in particular, to contribute to the forthcoming white paper, Our healthier nation.

The report made a number of specific recommendations on a range of areas relating to health, environmental and social factors.

Recommendations included:

  • introducing health impact assessments for all policies that were likely to have a direct or indirect impact on health and health inequalities
  • appointing directors of public health in every health authority
  • placing a partnership duty on the NHS executive and regional government to ensure local partnerships between health and local government.

The inquiry team did not include an economist, and the proposals were not costed. Acheson wanted them to be implemented as a whole, and many involved a wholesale re-distribution of wealth.


Acheson D.
Independent inquiry into inequalities in health: report.
HMSO; 1998.