THE LEADING GLOBAL INSTITUTE on health inequalities – the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) – has published a new framework, which includes new bold and ambitious recommendations on how to reduce health inequities and build back fairer from the COVID–19 pandemic for future generations.
The Framework is part of a new Marmot Review and comes as life expectancy falls for everyone across the UK, and health inequities widen, at a cost of £39 billion every year. The new Review was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.
The City Region had a 25 per cent higher Covid–19 death rate than England as a whole in the 13 months to March 2021. This high death rate contributed to a decline in life expectancy in the North West region, which was larger than the average in England. Life expectancy fell in 2020 by 1.6 years for men and 1.2 years for women in the North West compared with 1.3 years and 0.9 years, respectively, across England.
The IHE’s Director, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, said that if the government is serious about levelling up health inequities, equity of health and wellbeing must be at the heart of government and business strategy, rather than narrow economic goals.
“Greater Manchester has high levels of avoidable health inequalities as a result of longstanding economic and social inequities, and as across the country, ethnic disadvantage. The City Region has also experienced high rates of mortality from Covid–19 and particularly damaging long–term economic and social effects during the pandemic as a result of prolonged lockdowns. These multiple negative impacts will damage health and widen health inequalities unless action to build back fairer is introduced across the City Region.
“The Institute of Health Equity has previously called for a national inequalities strategy to provide the backbone of the government’s levelling up agenda. Build Back Fairer in Greater Manchester: Health Equity and Dignified Lives now lays out a clear framework to reduce health inequities for future generations. The Region’s devolved powers, leadership and strong existing programmes make it well positioned to take a lead, provided central government commits to long–term additional investment.”
Responding, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who launched The Marmot Review 10 Years On in 2020, said the Covid pandemic has exposed and amplified the reality that many of the region’s residents have lives, jobs and homes which worsen their health.
He said: “The pandemic has brutally exposed just how unequal England actually is. People have lived parallel lives over the last 18 months. People in low–paid, insecure work have often had little choice in their level of exposure to Covid; and the risk of getting it and bringing it back home to those they live with.
“Levelling up needs to start in the communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. To improve the nation’s physical and mental health, we need to start by giving all of fellow citizens a good job and good home. We are grateful to Michael Marmot for showing how Greater Manchester can improve the health of our residents and we hope the Government will back us with the resources and powers to put better health at the heart of our recovery.”
* Read Build Back Fairer in Greater Manchester: Health Equity and Dignified Lives here.
* Source: Institute of Health Equity