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Fifteen-Strong National Team Collaborate to Tackle Midlands Health Inequalities

A team of experts has been established by Midlands Innovation Health (MI Health) to lead on a programme of work to increase understanding of the issues surrounding health inequalities in the Midlands as a result of COVID-19.

The Midlands Health Inequalities Policy Commission, sponsored by Midlands Engine, will recognise the recent exacerbation of health inequalities, identify those that have emerged during the pandemic and reflect on determinants that existed before the pandemic.

Fifteen commissioners who represent a wide range of roles and stakeholder organisations from the NHS, industry, academia, charities and local/national government make up the newly-formed commission team.

The professionals will work with practitioners and communities to explore lived experiences, outline known good practice, identify barriers and set practical actions for overcoming them to accelerate change.

The commission’s next steps include gathering evidence and data from community focus groups to inform ideas for change and make recommendations as part of a report expected to be published in summer 2022.

Professor Pauline Walsh, Convenor for MI Health and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health & Wellbeing) and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Keele University said: “This programme of works allows us to better engage with our communities and embed a culture of collaboration to make informed recommendations.

“I am delighted to be part of this important commission as we have seen in recent times the impact of inequalities is far reaching. I am committed to making sure that the outcomes will be taken up by universities shaping future education and training of health and social care professionals.”

Dr Helen Turner, Director for Midlands Innovation also commented. “This vital programme of work brings together leading experts who can share knowledge and best practice to bring about positive change in the region.

“Many of the commissioners have explored the topic of inequality already through their previous work and can use this insight to further shape recommendations which can actively address inequalities in our communities.

“Collaborations like this are central to the work we deliver at MI Health I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of the commission and recommendations to transform the long-term future for many people in the Midlands.”

The individuals who make up the Midlands Health Inequalities Policy Commission team are:

  • Lord Victor Adebowale CBE - Chair of NHS Confederation and Policy Commission Chair
  • Professor Kamlesh Khunti - Director of Centre for Ethnic Health Research University of Leicester and Scientific Lead
  • 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
  • Professor Pauline Walsh - MIH Convener and PVC Health/Wellbeing at Keele University

Learn more about the commission key aims here