Social justice is a matter of life and death. It affects the way people live, their consequent chances of illness and their risk of premature death. This is the opinion of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health set up by the World Health Organisation. Theirs was a global remit and we can all easily recognise the health inequalities experienced by people living in poor countries, people for whom absolute poverty is a daily reality.

"It is harder for many people to accept that serious health inequalities exist here in England. We have a highly valued NHS and the overall health of the population in this country has improved greatly over the past 50 years. Yet in the wealthiest part of London, one ward in Kensington and Chelsea, a man can expect to live to 88 years, while a few kilometres away in Tottenham Green, one of the capital’s poorer wards, male life expectancy is 71. Dramatic health inequalities are still a dominant feature of health in England across all regions.
But health inequalities are not inevitable and can be significantly reduced. They stem from avoidable inequalities in society: of income, education, employment and neighbourhood circumstances. Inequalities present before birth set the scene for poorer health and other outcomes accumulating throughout the life course.
The central tenet of the Review 'Fair Society Healthy Lives' is that avoidable health inequalities are unfair and putting them right is a matter of social justice".