Title

Midlands Innovation Health, sponsored by the Midlands Engine, will lead a Policy Commission to form the centre piece of a programme of activity to increase understanding of issues surrounding health inequalities in the Midlands and the ability of the region to respond to them. The Commission will recognise the exacerbation of health inequalities as a result of COVID-19 and identify new emerging health inequalities, as well as reflecting on determinants that existed before the pandemic.

Commission Scope

The Policy Commission acknowledges the NHSE definition of health inequalities:

‘Health inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society.  Health inequalities arise because of the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. These conditions influence our opportunities for good health, and how we think, feel and act, and this shapes our mental health, physical health and wellbeing’.

By drawing on previously identified recommendations and working with practitioners and communities to explore the lived experience of these activities, we will outline known good practice, identify barriers and set practical actions for overcoming them to accelerate change. The intention is to review existing recommendations and propose ways in which some of these could be implemented more quickly across the whole Midlands population, drawing on existing good practice if available. This may result in recommendations for organisations and/or individuals to lead change within all or parts of the Midlands, and to suggest if some may have England/UK wide impact.

Leadership within our region and community engagement are central to the Commission. Forums will be set up with membership which will capture the extensive expertise of groups and enable a wide range of opinions to be captured. This will also allow the recognised critical areas of ethnic health and deprivation to be appropriately acknowledged, without pre-empting results or introducing bias. The Commission understands that there may be issues raised within the Forums that are outside of the remit of health, but feel strongly that it is still important that they are heard and recognised.

Key Aims

1. Determine what the main health inequality issues in the Midlands are pre and post pandemic
2. Summarise what existing action is already taking place and what is not, including current duties and requirements with respect to identifying and reducing inequalities
3. Identify barriers and determine enablers with mechanisms for delivery across the Midlands
4. Provide detailed case studies of best practice and opportunities to learn from
5. Propose priorities for change and associated monitoring metrics

Leading the Commission

Lord Victor Adebowale
Chair of NHS Confederation
Chair
Professor Kamlesh Khunti
Director of the Centre for
Ethnic Health Research

Scientific Lead
Lord Adebowale Prof Kamlesh Khunti

Lord Adebowale and Professor Khunti will lead a expert pool of Commmissioners to deliver this important work. The Commissioners have been drawn from across the sector and represent a wide range of roles and stakeholder organisations, including the NHS, industry, academia, charities and local/national government. They are:

Dr Mubasshir Ajaz - Head of Wellbeing and Prevention at West Midlands Combined Authority
Vicky Bailey - Non-Executive Director of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
David Buck - Senior Fellow, Public Health & Inequalities at the King’s Fund
Dr Jennifer Dixon - Chief Executive at the Health Foundation
Dame Elizabeth Fradd DBE DL - Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham
Jo Gideon MP - Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central
John Hume - Chief Executive at People's Health Trust
Prof Martin Levermore MBE DL - Chair of Medilink Midlands and Visiting Prof at Birmingham City University
Alex Norris MP - Labour MP for Nottingham North
Deborah O'Callaghan - Associate Director of NICE Field Team (Midlands and East)
Dr Bola Owolabi - Director of Health Inequalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement
Dr Patrick Vernon OBE - Non-Executive Champion of Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System
Prof Pauline Walsh - MIH Convener and PVC Health/Wellbeing at Keele University

Follow @MIHealth on Twitter for updates and information. Further details of the commissioners will be announced in due course.