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Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap is an online learning resource developed by NHS Education for Scotland which provides pre-registration Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHPs) and others involved in tackling health inequalities in Scotland with flexible learning opportunities. Bridging the Gap introduces some of the key evidence, issues and themes in health and social inequalities, provides access to a range of add-on resources and links to further information. The resource can be found at www.bridgingthegap.scot.nhs.uk

A number of policy drivers led to the development of the Bridging the Gap health inequalities educational resource. Better Health, Better Care (Scottish Executive, 2007) called for a greater emphasis to be given to preventative health care and early intervention, particularly in areas where health is at its poorest, and this had also been reflected earlier in Delivering Care, Enabling Health (2006) the NMAHP (nursing, midwifery and allied health professional) response to Delivering for Health.

Delivering Care, Enabling Health described the cultural, capability and capacity issues that would underpin the NMAHP contribution to implementing current health policy, and concluded by setting out actions and deliverables across a range of key issues. It stated that NMAHP pre-registration programmes should have a strong focus on health inequalities.

As a consequence of the above, scoping of currently available educational provision related to health inequalities and anticipatory care within NMAHP pre and post-registration education was carried out by NES in summer 2007. The NMAHP inequalities education report of the scoping acknowledged that the issue of Health inequalities was embedded in all NMAHP pre-registration curricula, although the term was rarely explicitly mentioned or explored. The NES Health Inequalities Steering Group, viewed health inequalities in it's widest sense. Consequently, the main recommendation from the report was to develop a flexible pre-registration health inequalities online resource for students, practitioners and teaching staff.

In 2008 NHS Education for Scotland commissioned the development of 'Bridging the Gap'. The resource has been available from September 2008.

A consultation (pdf) in October 2009 with 'Bridging the Gap' users confirmed that the resource was useful for anyone in the NHS (and potentially beyond) whose role involved tackling health inequalities, not just NMAHPs. The resource was updated and re-launched in March 2010.