A NEW report looking at the health of the West Midlands is to be discussed by political leaders this coming Friday, November 13.
The board of the West Midlands Combined Authority will be presented with the report ‘Health of the Region 2020: The regional health impact of Covid-19 on the West Midlands.
As well as the contents of the report, which has been produced by the WMCA in conjunction with public health officials, the board will also discuss what actions are being proposed by health and public sector bodies in response.
The report was originally commissioned before coronavirus struck, but the study was subsequently widened so the true impact of the pandemic could be taken into account.
The report finds that on many measures the health of the region is worse than the national average, and that Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated the relatively poor health of the West Midlands.
It also found that inequalities in health were inextricably linked to disparities in wealth.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This report makes clear that we cannot shy away from the fact there are significant health inequalities in our region that must be addressed.”
The report sets out some key ‘commitments to action’ on behalf of the WMCA and its partners. These include:
Bringing the region’s major health organisations together to set standards for addressing health inequalities.
The WMCA working with ethnic minority employers and their staff to develop a targeted mental health programme.
University Hospitals Birmingham addressing the current health screening backlog.
Health leaders for GP surgeries and clinics across the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) recruiting 113 staff members by March 2021 to improve mental health and wellbeing.
NHS and council social care organisations that make up the Birmingham and Solihull Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) providing regular analysis to help guide future work to tackle health inequalities.
The report which makes clear those most affected by coronavirus tend to live in the poorest neighbourhoods and in overcrowded housing. They are also in low paid jobs.
The report also finds the main causes of preventable death in the region were cancer and cardiovascular disease (both with rates higher than the national average) while cases of smoking, obesity, childhood obesity, alcohol dependency and physical inactivity were also higher than the national average.