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National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care: North West Coast 

The Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Central Lancashire, in collaboration with the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, have come together with NHS organisations and local authorities along the North West coast to invest a further £12.5m to support research that improves services for patients. 
 
CLAHRC NWC's public health thematic programme is led by Jennie Popay at Lancaster University and Ben Barr, senior lecturer in public health at Liverpool University.  It is managed by a group comprising representatives from the nine partner local authorities involved in the programme. A number of academics at the universities of Liverpool and Lancaster will be supporting the programme over time including LiLaC co-director Margaret Whitehead. 
 

Public health and inequalities

The Health and Social Care Act laid new duties on NHS commissioners and the Secretary of State around tackling inequalities.  Local authorities under the Act also have a new duty to improve the health of their population and to take the lead in coordinating local efforts to ensure that health services in their locality work together to promote population health effectively.   To this end, NHS funds are allocated to local authorities for these new public health responsibilities specifically to enable action on the wider social determinants of health and to reduce inequalities in health outcomes.  This thematic programme aims to play a central role in supporting local NHS and LA bodies in their new statutory responsibilities with regards to health inequalities by: (i) embedding evidence based policies/practices/services to reduce health inequalities in the work of the new local public health systems; and (ii) ensuring that research and implementation activities across the CLAHRC for the North West Coast contribute to reducing inequalities in access to, and outcomes of, high quality health care. 
 

What does the thematic programme involve?

The public health thematic programme aims to support local authorities to implement and evaluate evidence-based policies/practices to reduce health inequalities by promoting and supporting systems resilience in relatively disadvantaged areas. This work began with reviews of evidence on effective interventions to improve the social, economic and environmental components of resilience. These reviews are now informing the development of initiatives, which will be implemented and evaluated in a number of ‘Neighbourhoods for Learning’ identified in local authority areas.   In these areas we are putting in place systems to capture routine and administrative post coded data on health inequalities and their social determinants to establish a baseline against which to monitor improvements and change.  
The CLAHRC for the North West Coast is committed to ensuring that all its R&D activities contribute to reducing inequalities in access to, and outcomes of, high quality health care.  To do this we have developed a health inequalities audit and monitoring system based on existing tools and approaches and to be implemented across the CLAHRC.  This has been made available to NHS and LA partners of the CLAHRC and beyond and we also plan to put in place training in its use.  
 

Further information

For further information about the North West Coast CLAHRC visit the website
 
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