Greater Manchester Medicines Optimisation Community of Practice Focusing on Healthcare Inequalities

Cath Barrow & Maryam Aziz

Cath Barrow (Senior Programme Development Lead) and Mary Aziz (Programme Development Lead) at Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) talk about how tackling healthcare inequalities can be achieved on a scale – small changes make a big impact!

Healthcare inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society. These include how long people are likely to live, the health conditions they may experience and the care that is available to them.

Addressing healthcare inequalities can often feel like an insurmountable task, making it difficult to recognise what can be achieved on an individual, organisational or system basis. Therefore, we were pleased to be invited to speak at the Greater Manchester Medicines Optimisation Community of Practice event on the 18th January 2024, where we aimed to show how tackling healthcare inequalities can be achieved on a scale.  Small changes make a big impact!

The 2010 published Marmot review raised the profile of wider determinants of health by emphasising the strong and persistent link between social inequalities and disparities in health outcomes. In addition, the Dame Carol Black review also highlighted the huge economic costs of failing to act on the wider determinants of health. As a result, it is important for all to consider people’s wider needs when making service changes and improving accessibility to current pathways.

People living in areas of high deprivation, those from minority ethnic communities and those from inclusion health groups, for example the homeless, are more at risk of experiencing inequity of care.

The Core20Plus5 approach supports the reduction of healthcare inequalities by providing a lens to look through when developing plans for change. This approach, therefore, aids focus on the ‘Core20’ most deprived 20% of the national population as well as other population groups facing disadvantages such as ethnic minority communities and inclusion health groups.

The January session aimed to provide guidance on which groups of people experience poorer health outcomes as well as providing practical advice for self-development and an awareness of the behaviours and actions required to ensure changes are made inclusively.

Inclusivity is a key aspect of ensuring services and resources are accessible to the Core20Plus5 communities. Truly collaborating with people with lived experience, as well as others with key skills and expertise, should create the environment for honest conversation, behaviour change and build trust. As a result, differences can be de-stigmatised, individual needs can be identified and solutions can be reached jointly. To build effective relationships with the community, communication and collaboration should be carried out in a way which works best for them. Kindness, compassion and transparency are vital for understanding people’s varying needs and building trust. The result of this effective partnership will be services and processes which are acceptable to all and successful in changing behaviour as required.

During the community practice, it was great to see lots of interest in addressing healthcare inequalities and there was a large appetite for learning how to integrate this into everyday practice. Healthcare inequalities will remain a top priority for improving outcomes for our populations, therefore, we are excited to see how improvements continue to be made.

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