Black Report

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Black Report

the report of the Working Group on Inequalities in Health chaired by Sir Douglas Black, Chief Scientist at the Department of Health and President of the Royal College of Physicians which was published in 1980. A more accessible version was published as Inequalities in Health by Peter Townsend and Nick Davidson. The Black Report reviewed UK health statistics (MORBIDITY RATE and MORTALITY RATE and access to health care services) and compared them with figures for other EC and Scandinavian countries. It found:
  1. at all ages male mortality rates are greater than female mortality rates;
  2. the gap between the mortality rates of employed men in classes I and IV had increased between 1949 and 1972;
  3. the mortality rates for men in classes III, IV and V deteriorated or stayed the same in this period, but relative to the combined mortality rates of classes I and II they had increased;
  4. the picture of female mortality was similar, a deterioration for married and single women in the most numerous category, class IV;
  5. a reduction in deaths per 1000 live births for all groups, but a relative excess in classes IV and V combined, over classes I and II combined, between 1959 and 1972;
  6. a decline in maternal mortality for all groups, but a persistent class differential;
  7. no significant improvements in the life expectancy and life chances of children up to the age of 14 from all classes.

The Report found that there was a class gradient in illness and mortality, and that this gradient was replicated in a stratified access to, and use of, health-care facilities. The conclusion was that the significant factors affecting health were income, occupational characteristics, education, housing and lifestyle, all of which lie beyond the power of the NHS to change.

The committee made a number of far-reaching policy recommendations which concentrated on three areas:

  1. improved facilities and resources for the health of mothers and children;
  2. priority for disabled people in order to improve the quality of their lives in general, allow them to be cared for in their own homes, and to reduce the risk of them needing institutional care;
  3. priority for preventative and educational action to encourage good health and discourage unhealthy habits like smoking.

The overall conclusion, however, was that without a government strategy to reduce poverty, none of these recommendations would be entirely effective.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
However the disparity in health between the classes highlighted by the Black Report is wider today than at the time of its publishing.
The Black Report in 1980 on inequalities in health, which the Conservative government tried to keep secret, revealed that even for those in the same class and occupation - health outcomes in the north of England and the regions were worse than they were in London and the South East.
The Government reports on expenditure in the NHS and the drive towards a more primary health care provision brings to mind the Tory government Black Report in 1980 on Inequalities in Health, which was met by those in the service with open arms and great expectation.
In 2010, the Texas A&M University System, inspired by reforms touted by Perry, began compiling what became known as the "red and black report," detailing which professors made money - and which lost money - for the university.
I was born in 1980, the same year that the Black Report was published.
For further information on the carbon black market and the World Carbon Black report, contact The Freedonia Group at 440.684.9600,, or
of Plymouth, UK) address health inequalities policies in the UK, looking at the research and policy context since the Black Report and under New Labour; research evidence, policies, and practice relating to health inequalities from early childhood to late adulthood, with an emphasis on socio-economic status; and limitations.
They said its release was reminiscent of the covert release of the Black report on health inequalities which was published on August Bank Holiday Monday in 1980.
They said its release was reminiscent of the covert release of the Black report on health inequalities published on August Bank Holiday Monday in 1980.
The U.K.'s approach to tackling health inequalities is characterized by two inquiries: the Black Report and the Acheson Report (named after their respective chairs).
When, in early December of 1987, the news came of Jimmy s death in France at the age of 63, I went down to the basement with a handful of keys and on the third or fourth try opened a footlocker and dug out a musty black report binder labeled, in white ink, POEMS - JAMES BALDWIN.
* THE Black Report in 1980 is remembered for recognising that health inequalities in the UK related to economic inequalities, however Stockton's Dr George McGonigle had published Poverty and Public Health back in 1936 drawing similar conclusions.