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Tackling poverty: Making more of the NHS in England

The research on which this paper is based was commissioned from The King’s Fund by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) to inform its work to develop an anti-poverty strategy for the United Kingdom. The overarching question addressed is, how can the NHS make a better contribution to tackling poverty? We have interpreted this question to mean two things. First, how can the NHS – without structural reform – be incentivised and helped to do more to adapt, mitigate, reduce and prevent poverty? Second, what sort of things in practice would such an NHS be likely to be doing more of? We recognise the significant financial constraints on the NHS, and its local partners – particularly local government – but we do not focus on this specifically. Within whatever given funding levels, we believe the NHS can make an even greater contribution to tackling poverty than it already does.