Means and ends – a blog by Jon Rouse

Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, has written a new blog exploring opportunity and access to good health care in Greater Manchester:

“Aneurin Bevan said that ‘No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.’ This principle of universal access is the cornerstone of our NHS and long may it endure. But Greater Manchester’s devolution programme does pose a challenge to this principle and it is one of sufficiency. We have set ourselves the mission of the greatest and fastest possible improvement in the health of our population. The biggest barrier we face in achieving this goal is not access to medical treatment, important though that is, but rather tackling the corrosive impact of poverty and inequality.

On my office wall I have a map of the Greater Manchester tram network that shows the differences in life expectancy here. Within a matter of just a few stops and miles, we see a 10 year gap in average life-span that can only be explained by poverty and deprivation. We are not blind to this reality; it does not undermine the principle of universal access to recognise that some parts of our population need a deeper and wider offer, an offer that spans economic, social and clinical needs. … ”

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