COVID-19 and the approach to managing the disease have exacerbated existing health inequalities and created greater divisions in society. While equality is at the core of NHS principles, patients and communities have been impacted differently by the coronavirus outbreak.
This theme will delve into the issues to help members and stakeholders address the geographic, socio-economic and socio-demographic inequalities in health cast into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Successive reports have shown marked regional differences in life expectancy and shown that the more deprived the area, the shorter the life expectancy. This stark reality has been borne out in the current crisis, with Office for National Statistics data linking COVID-19 death rates to the affluence of an area.
Regions with the highest levels of health inequalities, such as the North East, are seeing the highest number of deaths per head of the population. And urban centres and areas with higher populations from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BME) are being disproportionately affected.
The long-term impact of austerity – including reduced spending in adult social care, the decline in support for the voluntary and community sector and a reduction in funding for public health – is often seen as contributing further to health inequalities and leaving the UK ill-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of our NHS Reset campaign, we will be spotlighting these inequalities and calling on the government for additional investment in deprived communities. We will also be supporting health and care leaders to help rebuild local communities together.
- “None of us should accept the status quo, and I all of my colleagues will be thinking about the role we each play in improving health in the North East so that we can tell a diﬀerent story in the future.” - read Dame Jackie Daniel's blog
- "As we consider a reset NHS, my ask is that we give all people a seat at the table so that it is not purely system led" - read Helen Hassell's blog
- "Going forward, the need to address health inequality must also be tackled with the same urgency and with disease prevention at the heart of the strategy" - read Dr Zarrin Shaikh's blog
- “This is an opportunity to have a voice and speak truth to power. It takes passion, courage and a different type of energy for change” read Community Voices co-founder Samira Ben Omar's blog
- "There is simply no more time to talk about these ingrained inequalities – urgent action is needed" - read Rachel Power's blog
- Watch NHS Assembly member Fatima Khan-Shah's video
- Watch our director for partnerships and equality Joan Saddler's video
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