Addressing Health Inequalities

Tackling health inequalities is at the core of what we do at Surrey Heartlands and we will continue to take a dynamic and collaborative approach to tackle this issue.

Surrey Heartlands Equalities and Health Inequalities Board

We aim to ensure that anyone who uses our services receives the opportunity to live healthy lives without disparities due to ethnicity, age, wealth, disability or geographical area.

We established the Surrey Heartlands Equalities and Health Inequalities Board to ensure that citizens’ needs are at the core of our work. The Board is addressing five priority areas:

  1. Restore NHS services  – We have analysed waiting times by gender, deprivation, age and ethnicity and breakdown of non-attendance and referrals by ethnicity, deprivation, severe mental illness, age and gender. This vital data will be used to inform our decisions in the future.
  2. Digital Exclusion  – A comprehensive plan is now in place to promote the development of digital skills, connectivity and access, which is vital in tackling health inequalities today. This means helping those who may not have access to digital technologies, so they do not feel excluded by the system.
  3. Complete Databases  – We will continue to work with health and care providers to increase the levels of data collection relating to ethnicity and other protected characteristics, such as those with learning disabilities and serious mental illness.
  4. Preventative Programmes  – We are targeting the most deprived 20% of the population as the core demographic for the prevention of health inequalities, along with five other priority areas:
    • Maternity: ensuring continuity of care for 75% of women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and from the most disadvantaged groups.
    • Severe mental illness (SMI): ensuring annual health checks for 60% of those living with SMI (bringing SMI in line with the success of learning disabilities).
    • Chronic respiratory disease: a clear focus on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, driving the uptake of COVID, flu and pneumonia vaccines to reduce infective exacerbations and emergency hospital admissions due to those exacerbations.
    • Early cancer diagnosis: 75% of cases diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 by 2028.
    • Hypertension case-finding: to allow interventions to optimise blood pressure and minimise the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke.
  5. Leadership and Accountability  – The local Turning the Tide Oversight Board has merged with the Equalities and Health Inequalities Board to align objectives in health inequalities. Our plans include the appointment of workstream leads, inclusive recruitment and training, including the recruitment of an Equalities and Health Inequalities Project Manager and the appointment of a new executive sponsor for the BAME Alliance.