Despite its presence on the so-called Selbie Six list of NHS priorities for 2006-07, tackling health inequalities is proving a significant challenge for many primary care trusts.
Progress is being made by the spearhead PCTs but it is uneven. Department of Health figures on cutting the gap in life expectancy by social class - the key public service agreement target - shows that in many cases PCTs making good progress on men are falling behind on women, and visa versa.
About a fifth of spearheads are on track to meet the PSA life expectancy target by 2010. A further 40 per cent are due to meet the target for either men or women, but the rest are not on track. Changing those proportions in time will require renewed energy and imagination.
This week we publish a special supplement which examines the six key activities on which PCTs should be concentrating if they want to get serious about health inequalities.
They include raising health aspirations, using health trainers and working with overview and scrutiny committees.