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July 2008 sees the 60th anniversary of Britain's National Health Service. Much has changed in that time of course. It's a different world from the immediate post war era in which the idea of a universal public health service, free at the point of need, was born.

Britain is far more culturally diverse. Public health emphasis is shifting from treating illness to preventing it. Health and well-being are increasingly seen as integral to wider strategy for encouraging and maintaining a socially equitable and economically successful society.

As the Department of Health's programme director for equality policy, Barry Mussenden heads a team that's responsible for ensuring that health and social care services match everyone's needs equally and fairly.

It's not an easy brief. The NHS is a federation of independent public bodies whose priorities can only be influenced, not commanded. The health service is Europe's largest employer, staffed by ordinary people who have just  the same blind spots and prejudices as the rest of society.

In this short interview Barry explains how his team sees the challenge and takes it on.

Department of Health Equality and Human Rights Group

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