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Experts announce alliance to tackle worsening North-South health divide

Researchers from Fuse have joined forces with other leading experts in response to worsening health inequalities between the North and the rest of England.

Figures show that over half of the North has a lower life expectancy than the worst area in the South.

The scale of the issue has led experts from over 20 Northern universities - including Newcastle and Durham in the Fuse collaboration - as well as Public Health England, The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and N8 Research Partnership to form the Northern Universities’ Public Health Alliance (NUPHA).

NUPHA aims to build on the messages of the Due North Report, the Equal North Network, and the NHSA’s Health for Wealth Report which have all involved research input from Fuse members Professor Clare Bambra and Dr Heather Brown from Newcastle University.

A new analysis of the figures, led by Prof Bambra and Dr Brown, shows that in 66% of areas in the North, female life expectancy is lower than the area with the lowest female life expectancy in the South. The figure is 46% of areas for male life expectancy.

The figures also show that 88% of Northern Local Authorities have a lower female life expectancy than the England average and 86% have a lower male life expectancy.

Dr Heather Brown, deputy lead of the Health Inequalities research programme in Fuse, said:

"This is an example of the important work being done by Fuse on understanding and reducing health inequalities in the North East.

"In the report we show how health inequalities are related to economic inequalities.

"These findings highlight the importance of public health as an essential ingredient to ensuring sustainable economic growth.

"The report makes a clear case for improving health in the North of England as a priority for economic growth and reducing geographic inequalities."

The Northern Universities’ Public Health Alliance was launched at the International Festival of Public Health.

Fuse is an official partner of the NUPHA.

Last modified: Fri, 19 Jul 2019 15:01:13 BST