Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, Chief Executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance comment on North/South mortality divide
Government cannot ignore the fact the North’s population experiences England’s worst health outcomes.
Inequalities in the country are striking – and entrenched –and the research released today by The Universities of York and Manchester show starkly the situation is worsening.
This inequality will not disappear overnight and it needs to be tackled on all fronts from the government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, due to be published in early autumn, which must put the North’s poor health at its heart to succeed to NHS funding in the region that recognises its unique health challenges.
Health cannot be separated from prosperity and the Industrial Strategy must address this by investing more into health research in the North, tackling health inequalities at the root, and also by driving high-skilled jobs into the region.
The £20m government-funded Northern Health Science Alliance’s Health North: Connected Health Cities (CHC) project, is an example of a strategy which works through addressing both health and economic need. It runs four projects across the North, in Yorkshire, the North East and North Cumbria, North West Coast and Manchester, to use health data to improve population health and well-being, while drawing in jobs and investment to the region.
In our recent ‘Health Innovation Breathing Life into the Northern Powerhouse’ report with IPPR North we called for government to aim to commit 20% of its health research budget to the North as ‘catch up capital’ to stop the skewed funding which sees London, Oxford and Cambridge receive a disproportionate amount of the national budget.
The Health Innovation report illustrates a clear link between investment in research and health outcomes with research-active health trusts also seeing lower rates of patient mortality following emergency admissions. This is vital for the North where health outcomes are poorer compared to the South.
If we are to thrive in the North of England we need a workforce that is healthy and a smart strategy which will tackle health and wealth inequalities together.