March 10, 2020 @ 12:58 by Richard Dawson
Leaders in the field of public health and social research have said that collaboration is the key to tackling the North East’s health inequalities at an event organised by the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria.
The region is renowned for some of the best hospitals and researchers in the country yet continues to suffer from some of the biggest health inequalities and poorest life expectancies.
Recent reports have warned that life expectancy in England has stalled over the last decade, and reverse for women, particularly in the North East.
Providing inclusive research opportunities that support local communities and are open to the less represented, can help patients and the public benefit from better health and social care services.
This was the conclusion being drawn by the more than 250 people from a range of healthcare, public sector and academic backgrounds who attended the NIHR’s ‘Mind the Gap, Tackling Research Inequality’ event.
Alice Wiseman, director of public health at Gateshead Council, said: “It is completely unacceptable that two babies born today, can have as much as a ten-year difference in life expectancy as a direct result of the circumstances into which they are born.
“Despite much dedicated work over recent decades, inequalities in entirely preventable disease remain stubbornly persistent.
“Research methods can play a critical role in helping us to understand the lived experience, giving some of our communities a much-needed voice.”
Professor Caroline Wroe, clinical director at the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, added: “We have a wealth of research experience in the region, and it’s vital we use this expertise to address the gaps when it comes to reducing inequalities within health and social care research.
“With an evolving research delivery landscape, this event highlighted many of the upcoming changes we need to consider in delivering inclusive health and care research across the region.
“By removing obstacles, we can gain a better understanding of where patients and the public are falling between the gap and focus our efforts on reducing research inequalities.”