Barnardo’s to help tackle children’s health equity through launch of new Collaborative

Barnardo’s and the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) are partnering with three Integrated Care Systems (ICS) throughout England to boost childhood health by addressing health inequalities, informing best practice and influencing local Government and NHS decision makers on how to provide effective care in their communities.  

The organisations are launching a three-year Collaborative with ICSs in Birmingham and Solihull, Cheshire and Merseyside, and South Yorkshire to tackle the health challenges facing the children and young people in each area. 

Barnardo’s, the UCL Institute of Health Equity and each ICS will work together to develop a new Children and Young People’s Equity Framework. This will use regional data and insight to develop actions which will help people overcome the societal barriers which can hinder good physical and mental health. 

This will be informed by key input and insights from young people in each region, gained through face-to-face workshops and digital communication channels so that they can have a say on the issues which matter the most to them. It is hoped that this will create and sustain good health and wellbeing in each region. 

Rukshana Kapasi, Director of Health for Barnardo’s, said: “We are delighted to be launching this pioneering Collaborative to address the barriers which people face in order to achieve good physical and mental health. We have long known that poor health at a young age can have a negative impact on people’s opportunities in later life. The current pressures on the NHS, alongside the cost-of-living crisis, is just making matters worse.  

“Through this Collaborative, we hope to identify and provide practical solutions to these issues in a way which embeds the voices of children and young people into all we do. We look forward to helping to ensure that children and young people can any overcome negative circumstances they may be born into and enjoy happy and healthy futures.” 

Each ICS will focus on a particular area of health equity which is impacting children and young people in that region, which will be determined later this year as the Collaborative gets underway. 

The Collaborative, which brings together senior stakeholders from across the healthcare sector, will be chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot. He is the Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity and has been a leading authority on health inequalities for more than 50 years. 

Professor Sir Michael Marmot said: “Long-term increases in child poverty, the cost-of-living crisis and the unaffordability of childcare all work to make a healthy childhood more elusive for some families. Within these circumstances, committed action by Barnardo’s and Integrated Care Systems at a local level will make a difference to children’s lives now as well as their prospects for the future. Our aim is to provide evidence of what works so that it can change practice and improve health and well-being of all our children.” 

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