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Raising awareness of health inequalities in the Midlands

Raising awareness of health inequalities in the Midlands

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We raised awareness of health inequalities among the 11 integrated care systems in the Midlands through promoting the government’s Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT) – used to identify and support local action to address health inequalities.

Background

Tackling health inequalities for Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, hard-to-reach groups and deprived areas is a key priority for NHS England.

In January 2022, our Nursing and Urgent Care (NUC) team was commissioned by NHS England and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), to engage with the 11 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) across the Midlands to promote the government’s Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT) to identify and support local action to address health inequalities.

Five training sessions were to be delivered by 31 March 2022, each with a minimum of 60 participants. ​

Action

Our NUC team worked closely with ICS health inequality, quality and project management leads to promote HEAT training sessions to help them embed the tool into their quality improvement and business planning processes.

The team developed and delivered two types of HEAT training: ‘train the mentor’ and more general training, using evidence-based resources and live training on the Fingertips Outcome Framework (a public health framework containing life expectancy data for different communities and backgrounds).

Working closely with NHS England, OHID and other stakeholders, we developed a bespoke audit tool to support organisations to gather information about the use of HEAT and its impact.

Impact

The NUC team was given a challenging timeframe of 14 weeks in which to complete the project, but through coordinated and efficient delivery we were able to complete it in 11 weeks.

Our senior experts and project support team successfully raised awareness of health inequalities among the 11 ICSs through HEAT training sessions, attended by 407 people across five sessions – far exceeding the original target of 300.

We provided resources to support the HEAT programme going forward, including recordings of the two training sessions uploaded to the Midlands Health Inequalities and Long Term Plan Prevention Hub on the Future NHS Platform.

The audit tool can be used at both project and programme level, making it flexible for use across different organisations including ICSs, NHS, local government, devolution deals, and the voluntary sector.

A final evaluation report produced by the team outlined learning from the project. It also made a number of recommendations to NHS England and OHID to improve the HEAT training programme and help systems take this work forward.

“Can I say what a pleasure it has been to work with the [NUC] team. NHS Midlands and Lancashire worked collegiately and delivered fantastic training.”

Karen Saunders

Consultant in Health and Wellbeing | DHSC, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities

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