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RCP launches new training resource to address health inequality

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has launched a new training resource to help physicians tackle health inequality affecting their patients.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has launched a new training resource to help physicians tackle the clinical challenges created by the growing number of patients facing health inequality.

Health inequalities are the avoidable, unfair and systematic differences in health between different groups. As well as shortening life expectancy, health inequalities can damage quality of life. Those living in the most deprived areas spend nearly a third of their lives in poor health, compared to only about a sixth for those in the least deprived areas.

According to a recent RCP survey, 31% of the physicians surveyed said they had seen more people with illness due to their living conditions in the prior three months.

Also a RCP report from March 2023 found that 67% of respondents had not received teaching or training in health inequalities within a training programme or as part of their degree. Only 26% reported they felt confident in their ability to reduce the impact of health inequalities in their medical practice.

Tackle the challenges around health inequality

RCP’s academic vice president Professor Ramesh Arasaradnam said: “As the convenor of the Inequalities in Health Alliance, the RCP has been calling for a cross government strategy to reduce health inequalities which pulls at every policy lever available to tackle social determinants which cause them.

“However, based on discussions with our own members, it was clear to us that available educational opportunities for clinicians are crucial to ensure physicians feel equipped to tackle the challenges around health inequalities they are seeing in their own practice.

“This new resource, which is available to both RCP members and non-members, will do exactly that. Ultimately, it will help to improve patient wellbeing, reduce demand on the NHS and work to create a more productive and healthy society.”

The training resource aims to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge of two principles – trauma-informed care and circle of influence – that they can proactively use to change their attitude and behaviour when managing patients who are experiencing, or are at risk of, health inequality.

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