Skip to main content
0151 350 1590
Back to news

Addressing health inequalities: the growing importance of improving access in underserved communities

EMS Healthcare's Chief Commercial Officer, Cassie Kendrew shares how we are supporting with the discovery and delivery of medical science in underserved communities. 

Cassie Kendrew Cassie Kendrew

Published 21 March 2024

Addressing health inequalities: the growing importance of improving access in underserved communities Clinical research

The challenge of addressing health inequalities has been pushed back into the spotlight after the publication of a new report by Professor Peter Goldblatt.

As a senior advisor at the University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, statistical advisor to the UK Department of Health and Social Care, and an expert advisor to the WHO European Office, Goldblatt’s views are widely sought and respected across the healthcare industry.

The Health Inequalities, Lives Cut Short report, which detailed the findings of a comprehensive study by the Institute of Health Equity, attracted national headlines after laying bare the stark geographical differences in health outcomes prevalent across England.

The study found that: 

  • Between 2011 and 2019, more than a million people died earlier than they would have done had they lived in the same areas as the richest 10% of the population
  • Almost 150,000 of those deaths were additional excess deaths compared to average death rates in 2009-10
  • In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic had emerged and a vaccine had yet to be produced, the most deprived 80% of areas recorded nearly 11,000 more excess deaths than the richest 20% of areas

Sir Michael Marmot, director at the Institute of Health Equity, said: “The worse health of the more deprived 90% of the population, compared to the best-off 10%, means that health inequalities involve the majority of society.”

The deprivation gap

According to The King’s Fund, those living in the most deprived areas have a life expectancy 10 years shorter than those living in the least deprived areas. The average for those living in Blackpool is 76 years, compared to 86 years in Kensington. 

COVID-19 has widened health inequalities in England by disproportionately affecting those already experiencing health inequalities, with death rates from COVID-19 in the most deprived areas more than double rates in the least deprived areas.

Their latest article, illustrating the relationship between poverty and NHS services, shares that living in poverty has a profound impact on people’s health and how they use NHS services. 

From greater prevalence of a wide range of diseases and difficulties in accessing health care, to later treatment and worse health outcomes, poverty affects every stage of the patient journey. 

They also found that: 

  • 6 in 10 of people in the most deprived areas report that the cost-of-living squeeze is impacting their health 
  • Accident and emergency (A&E) attendances are nearly twice as high in the most deprived groups, and emergency admissions 68% higher 
  • During COVID-19, the proportion of early cancer diagnoses fell more sharply for patients in more deprived areas. From 53% diagnosed early in March 2020 to 41% in May 2020, while the least deprived quintile of areas went from 58% to 52%
  • Higher mortality rates mean that life expectancy is lower in more deprived areas. Men living in the most deprived areas can expect to live 9.7 years fewer than men in the least deprived areas, and women 7.9 years fewer. 

How can we support you?

From discovery to delivery, we have over two decades of experience within the health sector. We use our extensive knowledge and insights to overlay data sources, helping to drive the selection of sites for clinical research and healthcare services, ensuring our clients can reach the heart of communities.

Giving more people access to the healthcare they need is one of our driving missions – and now, in the light of Professor Peter Goldblatt’s report, it’s arguably more important than ever.

Get in touch to find out how we can support you.