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COVID-19 Health Inequalities Impact Assessment (HIIA) for the North East

Covid test

Researchers from the NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria contributed to a COVID-19 Health Inequalities Impact Assessment (HIIA) for the North East, conducted between May 2020 and November 2020.

The aim of the HIIA was to understand the direct and non-direct health impacts of COVID-19 on the population in the North East. This included the implications of the response to the pandemic, and identifying who were the most vulnerable and at-risk groups. The work was guided by a multi-partner steering group, and led by Public Health England (PHE) North East (as it was known at the time).

This assessment of the impacts would then go on to inform health and social care recovery planning for our region – particularly to support a focus on health inequalities and addressing some of the wider social determinants of health.

Our role in the COVID-19 HIIA for the North East

Firstly, we conducted a rapid review of emerging evidence – this included a rapid online search of academic and grey literature between May and July 2020. Further pertinent evidence published up to November 2020 was also included.

We also led a rapid secondary analysis of qualitative community insight work led by VCSE sector organisations across the North East and North Cumbria. This analysis aimed to explore the health impact of COVID-19 on:

  • At-risk and vulnerable populations
  • The VCSE sector and organisations supporting those groups.

Initial findings from the HIIA were presented in February 2021, and included 16 recommendations.

The recommendations covered the following themes:

  • Supporting implementation of action to mitigate health inequalities
  • Working with communities
  • Supporting recovery
  • Workforce
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Measuring progress

You can download the executive summary of the findings and detailed recommendations from the North East COVID-19 HIIA, below.

Supporting the development of the NHS Health Inequalities Toolkit

The findings from the North East COVID-19 HIIA have informed a new NHS Health Inequalities Toolkit.

The toolkit offers practical resources to inform recovery planning and the restart/reset of services, as well as support organisations to mitigate and prevent the worsening of health inequalities.

The toolkit can be downloaded below.


The ARC NENC work within this project was led by Dr Steph Scott, Senior ARC NENC Research Fellow based at Newcastle University.

Contact: [email protected]