Summit to tackle inequalities is held in Northumberland

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A special summit aimed at tackling inequalities in Northumberland has taken place – after the Covid pandemic brought the issue into sharp focus.

Key stakeholders and senior leaders from Northumberland County Council, the NHS, voluntary and private sector including businesses came together for the county’s first system wide Inequalities Summit.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how much worse off some groups of individuals and com­munities are than others.

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Life expectancy at birth for men in Northumberland is 79.3 and 82.9 for women, a 3.6-year difference.

A summit has been held with the aim of tackling inequality in Northumberland.A summit has been held with the aim of tackling inequality in Northumberland.
A summit has been held with the aim of tackling inequality in Northumberland.

This gap widens between areas and gender. Depending on where you live in Northumberland, you could expect to live to between 73 to 85 for males (12-year difference) and 76 to 92 for females (16-year difference). This gap is the difference between areas with the lowest and highest life expectancy.

The summit saw guest speakers and round table discussions bringing together the ‘lived experience’ and data, sharing best practice and identifying those most disproportionately impacted by Covid to look at what we can do to mitigate against these persistent inequalities.

Northumberland’s Director of Public Health, Liz Morgan, said: “The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age are the most important factors in determining good health.

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“By bringing inequalities into sharp focus today we can work together, with a collective drive, to address some of these issues and provide a fairer future for our residents.”

The summit is the first of a series of conversations on inequalities and equity in Northumberland and it brought together a range of people from different organisations responsible for helping reduce these variations.

Council leader Glen Sanderson, said: “The county is well known for being green and clean but like many areas we have some communities which struggle more than others for all sorts of reasons.

“The link between health, social and economic factors is clear. By bringing key stakeholders together, we can reflect on everyone’s contribution to develop a Northumberland wide approach.

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“We are committed to tackling inequalities and the summit was an important element of that commitment. Our aim is to establish key goals for an Inequalities Plan that can be delivered at scale over the coming years to level off and start to reduce the gap in healthy life expectancy.”

Robin Hudson, medical director of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “By coming together today, it has given us the opportunity to explore how we can best work together. There are already lots of great things happening across the county, but there is always more we can do to improve the health of our residents and patients.

“We recognise too, the impact the pandemic has had on our communities. It is important we understand and react to these new challenges and collaboration will be key in this”.