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Empowering local places key to tackling ‘burning platform’ of health and economic inequalities

Posted: 23rd February 2024

Today (23 February 2024), we have launched a new white paper, developed with YHealth for Growth partners NHS Confederation and Yorkshire Universities, which shows the reality of health and economic inequalities across Yorkshire and the Humber.Front cover of empowering local places white paper

‘Empowering local places for health and prosperity: new perspectives from Yorkshire and the Humber’ responds to the urgent need for action to narrow the health and economic gap and puts forward 10 recommendations for national and regional leaders and for business, which build on those set out in our initial 2020 YHealth for Growth report.

It also issues a rallying call to combined authorities, integrated care systems and other anchor institutions who are urged to use genuine devolution to build on existing public-private sector partnerships “ensuring businesses have a clear role, not just in developing a strong regional economy, but also in providing healthy work environments”.

Broadly the recommendations are:

  • National government to empower local leaders to lead by devolving meaningful investment and powers to local places, allowing them to set targets and direct investment according to local need.
  • NHS to maximise the opportunities of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) for local people and places by fully embracing the potential of ICS’s “fourth purpose”.
  • Regional leaders and anchor institutions to leverage their scale and convening power to develop a shared vision for health and economic partners, galvanise partnerships and empower communities to deliver it.
  • Business to recognise the ability to positively affect the health and economic prosperity of the region and take appropriate action.

Currently health inequalities cost UK plc £180bn a year, with Yorkshire having the third lowest life expectancy in England. With the economic climate uncertain and the NHS and wider public sector facing mounting pressure, the white paper argues we need to embrace new ways of working to narrow the health and economic equality gap.

Download the report in full and follow the conversation online using #YHealth4Growth