“Health inequalities are the preventable, unfair, and unjust differences in health status between groups, populations, or individuals.” – NHS England
On 31st October, the Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON) hosted its 2018 conference in London with the theme ‘Current and Future Directions in Health Equity Research and Action’. The sold-out conference included presentations, workshops, discussions, art, music, and more, from researchers, community organisations, and healthcare providers. The conference took a future-orientated perspective to explore how we can learn from current research, and tackle inequalities through future research and action.
The Children & Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP) Evaluation team was invited to present CYPHP’s work in two sessions. The conference provided a tremendous opportunity to showcase CYPHP research, early findings, and the ambitions of the CYPHP programme to increase health equity.
In the first session of the day, on Young People’s Health, Dr. James Newham, the CYPHP Evaluation Trial Coordinator, presented the CYPHP model of care, and early findings from an analysis of the CYPHP Health Checks. His presentation, titled ‘Discovering complexity and unmet need within Lambeth and Southwark: Baseline data of patients entering the Children & Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP) model of care’ presented a summary of the first 219 CYPHP Health Checks.
This analysis showed that most of the children and young people returning Health Checks had symptoms warranting clinical support. The team also found that the Health Checks were completed by a cross-section of the Lambeth and Southwark population including families with high needs, and that the parents who returned Health Checks were comfortable expressing their concerns about broader factors that can affect family health, including their own mental health, housing, and financial concerns. Since new models of care can inadvertently widen health inequalities, it is reassuring that these findings suggest that CYPHP’s services are reaching children and families most in need.
In the second session, on Improving Health Services, Dr. Julia Forman, the CYPHP Evaluation Statistics and Epidemiology Lead, presented work on the inequalities of health service use in Lambeth and Southwark, and in England. Her presentation, titled ‘The associations between deprivation and hospital service use for children and young people locally and nationally: Learning from research to inform innovative service delivery and tackle inequalities’ used data from the Public Health England Fingertips tool.
This work demonstrates that patients from GP practices with higher levels of deprivation have higher hospital attendances and admissions, both in Lambeth and Southwark, and across England. Her presentation explained how the CYPHP model of care aims to improve child health and reduce hospital use for all children, with a focus on how the CYPHP model aims to make outcomes more equitable. She also presented how the CYPHP Evaluation will measure the changes in health outcomes and health equity for children and young people in Lambeth and Southwark.
These presentations were clearly of interest to others with the shared ambitions to improve child health and health equity in their communities. In addition to showcasing the CYPHP programme, the CYPHP team also learned about research and action that aims to tackle inequalities locally, nationally, and internationally, with which we can collaborate and synergise efforts to improve health.
The day started and ended with a specific focus on children and young people . In the keynote session at the end of the day, Dr. Denese Shervington from the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, in New Orleans (USA), spoke movingly about her work with children and young people who have experienced trauma, and research into how best to support their recovery. CYPHP, aligning with local child population health work, can learn a lot from Dr Shervington’s work.
When asked to summarise the day, Julia described the event as “an inspiring conference.” Elaborating further she noted that it was “amazing to see the breadth of research and programmes aiming to reduce inequalities, brought together in one place, and with a focus on children and young people.” CYPHP’s evaluation team is developing grants for work that add value to CYPHP and contribute further towards efforts to reduce inequalities and improve health for local children.
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