ACTIONS set out at the height of the Covid pandemic to tackle health inequalities across the region have already helped thousands of people improve their fitness and wellbeing.
A meeting of the Health of the Region Roundtable, chaired by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has heard how slow but steady progress is being made on delivering a wide-ranging and long-term action plan aimed at closing the region’s health gap.
The Health of the Region: Addressing health and wellbeing inequalities and the impacts of COVID-19 in the West Midlands report was published in 2020 and found there were entrenched health inequalities in the region that had been both exposed and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two years on and significant work has been done by the organisations involved, with 46 of the 65 commitments they set out in the Health of the Region report either being delivered or starting to be embedded into relevant policies and processes to ensure health inequalities are addressed in their everyday operations.
Among the commitments being delivered on the ground is a long-lasting physical activity and wellbeing legacy for the region developed by the WMCA and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) delivery partners to encourage people to get active in targeted areas of poor health.
This has seen more than 16,000 pieces of Games sports equipment donated to community organisations as well as the setting up of physical and mental health activity groups.
The Mayor said: “It’s encouraging to see that so much positive work has been done right across the region over the past two years.
“I’m delighted to see the substantial efforts our partner organisations have made – in some respects even going beyond what they had committed to in the Health of the Region Report.
“Despite the significant challenges faced by the NHS and wider health sector post-Covid, we’ve made real progress. But there is more work to be done collectively as we continue to address the disparities in health and wellbeing that local people sadly experience right across our region. I remain hopeful that – by working together – we can do exactly that.”
Click here for a full list of the commitments and the progress made.