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A new project will bring together and share best practice to help NHS services tackle health inequalities

Posted: 16th November 2021

We are pleased to be working with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) on  a project supported by The Health Foundation to develop a good practice guide setting out high impact actions which systems and providers can take to address health inequalities and ensure equal access for all.

The pandemic highlighted both the inequalities in our society and those that people experience when using NHS services. It was an incredibly challenging time for people providing care. However, it also accelerated the adoption and spread of innovative ways to deliver and receive care.

The initiative aligns with the five priority areas identified in the NHS ‘2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance: Implementation guidance’ for tackling health inequalities: cardiovascular disease, mental health, maternity, respiratory and cancer.

Richard Stubbs, CEO of Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “Inputs from frontline staff and the people using the services is essential to shape a system that really responds to patients’ needs. It is great to see that this is at the heart of the NHS priorities. Drawing on examples on the ground and lived experiences from people delivering and receiving services will help create a guide that can provide tangible solutions to help tackle health inequalities.”

Ash Alom, Programme Lead, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, added: “There is great work taking place across the country to tackle health inequalities. Many of these are examples of brilliant partnership working between health, local authority, voluntary sector services and importantly people and communities. They are helping to improve the lives of people particularly those living in some of the most deprived communities and those living with long-term conditions. This project is a fantastic opportunity to showcase, learn from, and help spread good practice.”

Dr Bola Owolabi, Director – Health Inequalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “The outcomes of this important project will support implementation of our Core20PLUS5 approach to reducing health inequalities. The approach asks ICSs to focus resources and energies on the most deprived population and the groups most at risk of poorer-than-average health access, experience and outcomes. The project also fulfils an NHS long term plan commitment to collate examples of best practice, which we hope will inspire the NHS and wider health economy to apply what we’ve learned during our response to the pandemic and to accelerate the adoption and spread of innovative ways to deliver and receive care.”

Engaging with NHS providers and partners, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN will help gather case studies and examples of high impact actions to help inform the creation of the guide. The guide will act as a platform to encourage healthcare providers to learn from each other, share best practice and look at the changes necessary to help improve service delivery and patient experience while reducing health inequalities.

Jo Bibby, Director of Health, The Health Foundation, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting this programme to equip the NHS with knowledge and tools to achieve fairer outcomes in care and reduce the stark inequalities in health that many communities experience. This is particularly important as the NHS continues to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated and highlighted these long-standing inequalities”.

We would like to hear from practices, Trusts and healthcare organisations across England that have case studies/examples, contacts to share, or would like further detail.

Please contact Ash Alom, programme lead for population health on or get in touch if you are interested in being part of an expert reference group to share learning, select the projects identified and advise on service delivery challenges at local and system level.