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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Health and education

26th September 2008

Naomi Chambers, professor of health management and head of health policy and management at Manchester Business School, explores the link between health and education.

healthcare management

Primary Care Trust boards must not lose sight of the fact that they are required to improve the health of their local population, not just deliver healthcare to it.

At present the emphasis remains heavily on commissioning but areas where PCTs need to do better is in reducing inequalities in health outcomes between the wealthy and those who are less well off.

That gap is less stark in societies where income levels are not so extreme, such as in Scandinavia. There is less health inequality and on the whole, the population enjoys better health.

With a clear link between education and health status, perhaps it is time for PCTs to look more closely at the role of schools and develop a partnership.

Sir Keith Joseph first spoke of the "cycle of transmitted deprivation", with parents passing on poverty and deprivation to their offspring, though social scientists have more recently argued that the main causes of poverty are "structural rather than behavioural."

Evidence clearly shows that education can help break this cycle and offer a way out of deprivation and poverty.

With that said, PCT boards may want to look at the quality of schooling in the catchment area they serve and take it a step further to see what they could do to work more closely with education.

Education and health could set shared local performance targets.


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