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Pandemic effect on a socially deprived UK town

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a direct impact on health and mortality rates, but there is evidence that there are further wide-ranging impacts, both of the pandemic and the measures taken to deal with it, on population health and wellbeing. Understanding this effect is essential in decision making for COVID-19 recovery efforts. A recent paper by the University of Lancaster undertakes a review of the impact of COVID-19 on a specific demographic using health and socioeconomic data.

Data between 2016 and 2021 in the deprived UK coastal town of Fleetwood was analysed looking at pre- and post-COVID-19 patterns in health and social outcomes. Some of the data was originally collected as part of routine clinical care. Primary care data and information about diagnosis and hospital admissions was provided by the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit. We are proud of Alicia Elliott and Margaret Orwin from our Data Quality team and Ross Hughes and Collette Taylor from our Business Intelligence team who worked together with the University of Lancaster and were named as co-authors of the paper.

On the Fylde Coast where Fleetwood is located, our Data Quality team and the Business Intelligence team embedded in Fylde Coast Clinical Commissioning Groups – Blackpool and Fylde & Wyre often work closely together. They have worked on a number of projects that have extended across the integrated care system (ICS). This provides opportunities for collaboration and allows for papers such as this to extract additional insight from existing datasets.

The paper’s results found that: “Initial falls in hospital admissions and diagnoses of conditions in primary care in March 2020 were followed by sustained changes to health service activity for specific diagnostic and demographic groups. Increases in the number of people receiving Universal Credit and children eligible for free school meals appear to be greater for those in the least deprived areas of the town.”

See the full text of the paper “Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a socially deprived UK coastal town: a preliminary exploratory analysis of health and socioeconomic data” for more information and discussion of the results.