Addressing health inequalities

Resources to help NHS finance staff take a leading role in addressing health inequalities.

Not only within the NHS, but globally there is a recognition now of the clear case for tackling health inequalities from the perspectives of the economics and the business case… Whatever time, energy or investment we put into addressing health inequalities is a win-win for people, communities, and for us as a healthcare system.

Professor Bola Owolabi, director - national healthcare inequalities improvement programme, NHS England and GP (from the HFMA annual conference 2023)

Health inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health between different groups of people. This could be differences in access to care, experience of care, or health outcomes, for instance with men in the most deprived areas having a life expectancy of almost 10 years less than those living in the least deprived areas.

Addressing health inequalities is a major priority for the NHS in recent years. The finance function has a major role to play in this both nationally and locally but taking this agenda forward, especially in the current difficult financial environment, is a significant challenge. To provide finance professionals with the skills and knowledge required, the HFMA has produced a range of resources including briefings, online bitesize courses, events and webinars, and more. 

This page outlines all of the HFMA's health inequalities resources. To find out more, contact [email protected]

Introducing the HFMA health inequalities finance fellows

In November 2023 the HFMA, supported by NHS England, launched its first cohort of health inequalities finance fellows (HIFFs).

The HIFFs programme lasts for 12 months, during which time the HIFFs will further develop their understanding of healthcare inequalities and their ability to influence and bring about positive change.

Across the programme, the HIFFs will form a network that comes together to share ideas and spread best practice in tackling healthcare inequalities. They attend monthly network events with external speakers, have access to training and resources, and will be supported to produce case studies on the work that their finance teams are doing. The HFMA will then share and promote best practice identified in these case studies. 

We have selected 48 people to take part. All the HIFFs are qualified accountants, and around a third are directors or deputy directors of finance. There is a good representation from across the country, with most integrated care systems and all NHS regions having at least one HIFF.

The HIFFs programme is supported by NHS England’s Healthcare Inequality Improvement Programme, and runs alongside NHS England’s Core20PLUS Ambassador scheme.

As part of their involvement, HIFFs have access to health inequalities training and resources which are available to the Core20PLUS Ambassadors, as well as resources and networking opportunities from the HFMA which focus more closely on finance.

Learn about health inequalities with HFMA bitesize

The HFMA has a series of online bitesize courses around different elements of health inequalities. Each of them are free to all staff in the NHS. Access them via the links below:

On-demand and upcoming events

A list of content from previous events, as well as upcoming events focused around health inequalities

The role of finance in reducing health inequalities - Prof. Bola Owolabi