The North of England has consistently higher levels of poverty, poorer health outcomes, and worse social determinants of health than the rest of England.
We wanted to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control measures on the health and productivity of the people of the North compared with the rest of England.
Our research provides compelling evidence that people in the North were more likely to die from COVID-19; were made poorer and endured a larger mental health impact. This information has been presented to government to inform strategy aimed at levelling up health and care inequalities.
In collaboration with the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and northern ARCs (North West Coast; Yorkshire and Humber; North East and North Cumbria), we have been involved in research looking at how COVID-19 has affected the North of England relative to the rest.
The report: "Child of the North: Building a fairer future after COVID-19"makes clear recommendations to policymakers about tackling the effects of the pandemic in the North, and addressing the underlying problems that already existed.
It highlights that during the COVID-19 pandemic, children living in the North of England:
- faced worse health and education outcomes than those in the rest of the country;
- missed more school, with estimated negative impacts on lifetime earnings;
- reported higher levels of loneliness and poor mental health; and
- faced higher levels of both relative and absolute poverty due to illness, long-COVID, and job loss.
The "A year of COVID-19 in the North: Regional inequalities in health and economic outcomes" report showed that northerners:
- were more likely to die from COVID-19;
- spent nearly a month and-a-half longer in lockdowns;
- suffered worse mental health; and
- were made poorer than the rest of England during the first year of the pandemic.
Around half of the increased COVID-19 mortality and two-thirds of the increased all-cause mortality were explained by higher deprivation and worse pre-pandemic health in the North.
Key findings and recommendations are here.
In collaboration with the NHSA and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for ‘Left Behind’ Neighbourhoods, the "Overcoming health inequalities in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods" report shows the devastating impact of poor health for those living in deprived areas and left behind neighbourhoods and makes a number of recommendations to overcome the health inequalities faced by people living in these places.
The report finds that people in England’s most deprived neighbourhoods
- work longer hours than those in the rest of the country;
- live shorter lives with more years in ill health costing an estimated £29.8bn a year to the economy in lost productivity;
- are 46% more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in the rest of England.