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Page last updated: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 10:55:13 GMT



Welcome to the Health Inequalities Intervention Toolkit

View trends in infant death rates and find information on factors which may influence infant mortality. Assess the impact of modifying the factors which contribute to higher infant death rates in the routine and manual group compared to all births within marriage/joint registrations.
Find latest data on gaps in life expectancy between Spearhead areas and England. Access tables and charts which show the causes of death, and age groups, which are driving these health inequalities.
Assess the impact that evidence-based interventions can have on reducing the inequality in life expectancy between Spearhead areas and England. (Includes new intervention on blood sugar control.)
Find information on within, as well as between, area inequalities. Access data on gaps in life expectancy between the most deprived quintile of each local authority in England, and a range of comparator areas. Estimate the effect on life expectancy if certain evidence-based interventions are increased.



Health Inequalities Intervention Toolkit

This Health Inequalities Intervention Toolkit, developed jointly by the Association of Public Health Observatories and the Department of Health, focuses on improving life expectancy and infant mortality rates, especially in disadvantaged areas. Based on local authority boundaries, it is designed to assist evidence-based local service planning and commissioning, including Joint Strategic Needs Assessments. The Toolkit does this by providing information on the diseases, which are causing low life expectancy in individual areas, enabling good local priority setting. The Toolkit was originally designed to support achievement of the national Public Service Agreement target to: "Reduce health inequalities by 10% by 2010 as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth." Although the PSA target has now ended, the Toolkit should still be useful to the NHS and local government, supporting planning to narrow inequalities in life expectancy and infant mortality

Life Expectancy Tools

There are separate life expectancy tools, one based solely on the former Spearhead areas, which were the focus of the life expectancy PSA target, and one for all local authorities in England. Both tools are designed to support planning to help narrow local life expectancy gaps.

Spearhead Tool – Life Expectancy Gaps

The tool for former Spearhead areas was fully updated in April 2010 and made available for the first time as a web-based application within the intervention toolkit. The tool presents gaps in life expectancy between each former Spearhead area and England as a whole, based on data for 2006-08. An improved set of tables and charts are available which illustrate the causes of death, and age groups, which are making the greatest contributions to these gaps. To access the tool click the Spearhead Tool – Life Expectancy Gaps button at the top of this page.

Spearhead Tool – Commissioning interventions

This part of the Spearhead tool was fully revised in 2010. To support commissioning decisions, it allows users to model the impact that systematically implementing evidence-based interventions at scale can have on reducing inequalities in life expectancy and All Age All Cause Mortality between each former Spearhead area and England. A new intervention illustrates the gains in life expectancy which can be made by lowering levels of high blood sugar. This supplements the original interventions (increasing numbers of smoking quitters, lowering infant mortality, and prescribing antihypertensives and statins) which have also been updated within this latest version of the tool. To go to the intervention element of the tool: (1) Click the Spearhead Tool – Commissioning Interventions button at the top of this screen, (2) Select the former Spearhead area which you wish to model, (3) Click the Commissioning Interventions button.

A supplementary page with Frequently Asked Questions, pdf versions of the charts for each former Spearhead area, technical details underlying the tool, downloadable data files, and links to further resources, can be accessed by clicking here

Spearhead Tools – 2003-05 and 2005-07 data

Earlier versions of the Spearhead Tool remain available so that trends can be considered. The 2009 tool (based on data for 2005-07) and the 2007 tool (based on data for 2003-05) can be found by clicking here

New Infant Mortality Tool

The Infant Mortality tool contains data for Strategic Health Authorities in England and for those local authorities with high numbers of infant deaths in the Routine and Manual (R&M) group. For Strategic Health Authorities, the tool:

  • Presents trends in infant death rates for the R&M group, births within marriage and joint registrations, and sole registrations.
  • Shows the factors which are contributing to the gap in infant mortality between the R&M group and births within marriage and joint registrations (such as such as smoking in pregnancy, poverty, maternal obesity and failure to initiate breastfeeding) and allows users to assess the impact of modifying these factors.
  • Brings together background data on factors which may influence infant mortality, such as deprivation, low birthweight and ethnicity.

Background data and charts of trends in infant mortality are also presented for those local authorities included within the tool. A link to further resources which may help address inequalities in infant mortality is also available.

To access the Infant Mortality Tool click the Infant Mortality Tool button at the top of this page. A web page with supplementary information, including Frequently Asked Questions, the technical details underlying the tool, links to further resources, and downloadable data files, can be accessed by clicking here

Health Inequalities Intervention Tool for All Areas

The existing Health Inequalities Intervention Tool for All Areas (2008) covers all local authorities in England, former Spearhead and non-Spearhead, and provides information on within, as well as between, area inequalities. The tool provides data on gaps in life expectancy between the most deprived quintile of each local authority and a range of comparator areas, including an analysis of the causes of death which contribute most to these gaps.

The tool also allows local authorities to estimate the effect on their life expectancy if certain evidence based interventions are increased. To access the tool click the Intervention Tool for All Areas button at the top of this page.

A supplementary page with instructions, Frequently Asked Questions and technical details underlying the tool can be found by clicking here

Your views

We welcome any queries or feedback on the toolkit. Let us know if anything is unclear, confusing or not functioning for you, by e-mailing us

The Health Inequalities Intervention Toolkit was developed by Public Health Observatories in England, working in partnership with the Department of Health.