The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) describes health inequalities as "differences in health between people or groups due to social, geographical, biological or other factors."
The kind of life a person is born into, where they live, the environment they live in, where they go to school and work, can affect both their life chances and in turn their health. Addressing these inequalities requires a move away from a medical model of public health to a broader, all-encompassing approach.
The 2017 Director of Public Health Report for Gateshead focused on inequalities. The report is called 'It never rains but it pours' and describes how disadvantage can cluster and accumulate across the life-course. It explores how inequalities are experienced through the eyes of people in Gateshead and it attempts to give a platform for those people whose voices are often not heard loudly enough. Poor health outcomes are significantly more prevalent in communities that experience other hardships (e.g. poverty). These patterns of illness highlight that health is considerably more complex than individual behaviour choices.