Qu-HCW: Can health reduce inequality?

On Wednesday 28th July, we attended the inaugural Qu-HCW – a new series of monthly discussion forums lead by Professor Kiran Patel, Chief Medical Officer. The theme of this month’s session was on the topic “Can Health Reduce Inequality?”

It was an interesting and thought-provoking discussion that covered a variety of topics, including social determinants of health, education, politics, the digital divide and our own roles and responsibilities in tackling health inequality.

It was also a positive opportunity to reflect how the Library contributes to UHCW’s role in reducing health inequalities. Our Patient Information team are passionate about health literacy and ensuring patients are offered high-quality and easy to understand health information. Health literacy levels in England are low: 43% of 16-65 year olds struggle with text-based health information. By working with colleagues involved in writing patient information leaflets, we not only supply an evidence base for the development of these resources, but can also offer advice on content, style and readability. This is all with the aim of giving patients the confidence to use health information, empower them to make informed choices about their health and play an active role in their treatment.

If you are involved in writing Patient Information leaflets, or would like to find out more about what our team do, you can read more here: https://uhcw.wordpress.ptfs-europe.co.uk/patient-information/

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and Health Education England (HEE) have also developed an e-learning module to help staff understand the role health literacy has in encouraging patients to be active partners in their care. Find out more here: https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/health-literacy/

Finally – inspired by the content of this month’s Qu-HCW session, we’ve pulled together a number of resources available from the Library and beyond for further reading on this and related topics. You’ll find below a short list of books, open access articles and useful websites if you would like to explore this topic in more detail.


Books available from UHCW Library:

Vital signs : the deadly costs of health inequality by Lee Humber.
Find it in the Library: WA300 HUM

Health inequality : an introduction to concepts, theories and methods by Mel Bartley.
Find it in the Library: WA300 BAR

Health and inequality : applying public health research to policy and practice edited by Angela M. Tod and Julia Hirst.
Find it in the Library: WA300 HEA

Unequal lives: health and socioeconomic inequalities by Hilary Graham.
Find it in the Library: W260 GRA

What works in tackling health inequalities? : pathways, policies, and practice through the lifecourse by Sheena Asthana and Joyce Halliday.
Find it in the Library: W76 AST

These articles are open access and no login is required:

Albert-Ballestar, S. and García-Altés, A. (2021) ‘Measuring health inequalities: a systematic review of widely used indicators and topics’. International Journal for Equity in Health 20:73 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-021-01397-3

Bradley, S. H. (2021) ‘The ethics and politics of addressing health inequalities’. Clinical Medicine 21 (2), 147-149. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmed.2020-0945  

Jessiman, P. E. et al. (2021) ‘A systems map of the determinants of child health inequalities in England at the local level’. PLOS ONE 16 (2), e0245577. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245577 

Popham, F. and Iannelli, C. (2021) ‘Does comprehensive education reduce health inequalities?’ SSM – Population Health 15, 100834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100834 

Sowden, S. et al. (2020) ‘Interventions to reduce inequalities in avoidable hospital admissions: explanatory framework and systematic review protocol’. BMJ Open 10, e035429. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035429   


The Equality and Health Inequalities Hub
https://www.england.nhs.uk/about/equality/equality-hub/
The Hub brings together information and resources to support the NHS in tackling health inequalities for patients, their communities and the NHS workforce.  The Reducing health inequalities resources section in particular highlights key legislation, data and practice examples.

The King’s Fund – What are health inequalities?
https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/what-are-health-inequalities
This publication from The King’s Fund outlines different types of health inequalities, including life expectancy, avoidable mortality, mental health and access to health service. It also explores the wider determinants on our health and the interaction between the factors that drive inequalities.

Public Health England – Inequality Tools
https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/inequality-tools
For data on health inequalities in England, including the Health Inequalities Dashboard an Segment Tool, offering information on inequalities in life expectancy per local authority. Last updated March 2021.

PHE & HEE – HEAT: Health Equity Assessment Tool
https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/health-equity-assessment-tool-heat/
This e-learning module from Health Education England is design to support healthcare professionals use Public Health England’s HEAT tool to identify and address health inequalities in their services.

Want to find out more? Get in contact with the Library:

For general Library enquiries: library@uhcw.nhs.uk

For support with Patient Information leaflets : health.information@uhcw.nhs.uk 

To request an evidence search to support patient care, guidelines and policies: cebis@uhcw.nhs.uk

To book knowledge and information skills training: library@uhcw.nhs.uk

Visit our website: http://uhcwlibrary.org

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