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Good health is a resource which enables individuals, families and communities to engage in learning, leisure, employment and community life. However, we also know that stark differences in life circumstances can have a detrimental impact on experiences and ultimately health outcomes across the social gradient which can endure across generations.

Addressing these inequalities go beyond the Public Health community and the NHS and must be addressed at a number of levels in the policy and political infrastructure and across a range of organisations, agendas and partnerships.

It is now widely recognised that fundamental action to ensure social equity and justice is required in addition to increasing equitable access to good work, high quality education and public services and supporting individuals to engage with services and within their communities.

Health and Social Care services, as well as treating, supporting and caring for those who need it, also have a key role in prevention and getting involved in helping to address the social causes of poor health and inequality. This means: taking a wider interest in the conditions in which people live and spend their time; critically examining how their services are planned, commissioned and delivered; exploring the opportunities available to engage with wider Community Planning partners and partnerships; and exercising their role as advocates.

We hope that this resource supports organisations, teams and partnerships to ask themselves these sometimes challenging questions and helps to facilitate change, where it may be required.

We would like to thank the local teams and service managers who worked with us to develop and pilot this resource, for being so honest in their self-assessments and for providing a wealth of insight into operational practice at a grass roots level.

I endorse this self assessment to you as a resource which can be used in your improvement endeavours to achieve better health for all in our communities.


Dr Joy Tomlinson
Interim Director of Public Health (Joint)
NHS Ayrshire & Arran


This workbook has been informed by the report ‘Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals’ (UCL Institute of Health Equity, March 2013)

Action on the social determinants of health should be a core part of health professionals’ business, as it improves clinical outcomes, and saves money and time in the longer term. But, most persuasively, taking action to reduce health inequalities is a matter of social justice.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot
Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity

Before You Start

Before you get started with this health inequalities self assessment we have prepared a helpful guide that will assist you in getting the most out of this process. Please take a few moments before you start to review this section.

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Character Home


If you have any questions about this self assessment you can check out our frequently asked questions which aims to address the most commonly asked questions. We are on hand to help with any questions should you require further assistance.

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Get Started

You can start the health and inequalities self assessment at any time. During each of the questions you will be able to save your progress or skip between sections. Additionally you can take the self assessment as an individual or as part of a group.

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