Judith Harvey: Who’s keeping score of the health of the nation?

24th May 2021 by Dr Judith Harvey

Judith Harvey: Who’s keeping score of the health of the nation?

How many new year’s resolutions have you kept? If I don’t get around to clearing out the box room, no-one is going to hold me to account and it isn’t the end of the world.

How many countries fulfil their undertakings to cut carbon emissions? If they don’t get around to it, the world may indeed end. If it ends, who would hold them to account?

Government policy shapes our chances of a healthy life. The pandemic has highlighted starkly that deprivation kills. A large proportion of our health is dependent on our luck in the tombola of social determinants of health: education, housing, transport, employment opportunities, our exposure to all sorts of pollution. Slapping a pre-election Elastoplast on our National Illness Service won’t improve these. If the government fails in its duty to the society it governs, everyone’s health suffers suffer. But how can we ensure that governments accept responsibility for their actions – or inactions?

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