Inequalities and marginalised communities

Our work aims to support the health and social care system to reduce health inequalities within the North East and North Cumbria, as well as nationally.

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The North East and North Cumbria region has the highest mortality rates, lowest life expectancy rates and healthy life expectancy rates in England. There are also significant health inequalities within our region, linked to marginalisation and disadvantage.

We have inequalities between neighbourhoods and socio-demographic groups, as well as linked to marginalisation and disadvantage – for example homelessness, domestic violence, low health literacy, sexuality, substance use or being in care. We also have inequalities related to rural areas, including poorer access to services and social isolation.

Our high-quality research aims to support the health and social care system to reduce health inequalities in the North East and North Cumbria, as well as nationally, and improve the health and wellbeing of our disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

We expect our research to identify cost-effective changes in local, regional and national policy and practice that can reduce inequalities within the next 5 to 10 years.

This is a cross-cutting theme, which means that the consideration of inequalities and marginalised communities will be a key part of work across other themes, for example inequalities in end of life care, inequalities in opioid prescribing and the equity and economic value of universal credit.

Part of our work will be to create an ‘Equity ARC’, ensuring that all ARC activities and projects have due consideration for equality and diversity.

We’ll also be working to establish a Health Inequalities (HI) Network which will bring together researchers, local authorities, the NHS, Public Health England, the voluntary and community sector and members of the public.

Leading national work around this research theme

There are 15 NIHR ARCs across England that work together on a number of key, national areas.

Our ARC for the North East and North Cumbria is the lead for Health Inequalities.

One strand of our work in this leadership role is to establish a national Health Inequalities Data Warehouse that will draw together cohort studies, large-scale area-level data sets and area-level NHS and local authority data, to analyse the long-term effects of place, population and area-based interventions on health inequalities, and help to identify populations to target.

We are also delivering a series of national seminars around Health Inequalities.

Priority area funding for research into Health Inequalities

We have also secured an extra £1.87 million of extra funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to lead applied research in the national priority area of Health and Care Inequalities. We’ll be working with a number of partners to deliver this project, including with our neighbouring ARC for Yorkshire and Humber, and the Northern Health Sciences Alliance (NHSA).