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2nd August 2016

New chief medical officer for Wales takes up post with focus on health inequality

Wales' new chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, has said tackling health inequalities is a priority and that he wants to make sure everyone in Wales has the same opportunities.

Dr Atherton took up the post on 1 August, replacing the retiring Dr Ruth Hussey.

A recent Public Health Wales report on July 28 (Measuring Inequalities report) has said more needs to be done to tackle inequalities which lead to people living shorter lives in poorer parts of Wales.

It found that men can expect to live nine years longer and women seven years longer in prosperous areas. They will also enjoy almost 20 years' better health, the report found.

The report said measures to cut smoking and obesity could have the biggest impact together with action on background causes such as education and working conditions.

Dr Atherton said that even though there are some improvements in health experiences and outcomes in Wales, "we can't be complacent" as "health indicators lag behind those in England".

Originally from Lancashire, Dr Atherton left his role as deputy chief medical officer of health in Nova Scotia, Canada, to come to Wales.

He is responsible for providing independent professional advice to the Welsh Government.

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