Key Northumberland stakeholders working on plan to tackle inequalities within the county

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Key stakeholders in Northumberland are working on a plan to tackle inequalities across the county.

An initial plan will be developed and presented to Health and Wellbeing board in September for approval, which will then activate the next stage in the process.

It follows a summit earlier this year where key stakeholders and senior leaders from the county council, the NHS, voluntary and private sector including businesses came together.

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The summit marked the first in the series of conversations which aimed to start planning a way forward to tackle inequalities.

Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson.Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson.
Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson.

They are said to focus on how businesses, the council and other stakeholders can work differently with communities within the county to reduce inequalities in areas such as improving life expectancy for people in the most deprived areas.

The life expectancy for people living in the least deprived areas of Northumberland is estimated to be 87 years old. However, those living in the most deprived areas of the county have a life expectancy of 75.

Council leader Glen Sanderson said: “We know the link between health, social and economic factors is clear.

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"By bringing key stakeholders together across agencies, we can work collaboratively to develop a Northumberland wide approach, building further on our existing Joint health and Wellbeing Strategy, and much closer with our communities.

“There is a great deal happening across the county in relation to economic activity and regeneration, but that is not all that is needed to tackle inequalities and the (Covid-19) pandemic has made it easier for us to see where inequalities lie. We must bring economic and social factors closer together.

“The input of everyone involved in the inequality events will help us to draft an Inequalities Plan, with actions that can be delivered at scale over the coming years.”

Derry Nugent, project co-ordinator at Healthwatch Northumberland, added: “We know that those who face inequality have poorer health outcomes, which are unfair and avoidable.

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“I’m delighted to be part of a wider discussion which recognises that shift in looking more at what communities can do for themselves and then what they need help with and or what they need outside agencies to do for them.

“I’m looking forward to continuing this important conversation.”