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22.11.18

‘Deep-rooted’ poor health in the Northern Powerhouse depriving the region of £13bn a year

Poor health in the north relative to the rest of the UK has a major impact on the area’s productivity, according to a report from six northern universities.

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) study said that tackling the north’s health disparity could create an additional £13.2bn a year for the northern economy.

There were “deep-rooted and persistent regional inequalities” in health, with people in the north “consistently found” to be less healthy than those in the south.

The Health for Wealth report said that given the relationship between health, healthcare and productivity in the Northern Powerhouse, the government must improve health in the north in order to improve UK productivity.

The NHSA report – which involved the universities of Newcastle, Manchester, Lancaster, York, Liverpool, and Sheffield – examined the impact of health on productivity and the chances of improving it by “regional growth through health improvement.”

They found that workers with ill health in the north were 39% more likely to lose their job than a similar individual in the rest of England and, if they returned to work, their wages were 66% lower than elsewhere in England.

The NHSA argued that a relatively small decrease in the rates of ill health and mortality could already reduce the GVA gap per-head between the north and the rest of England by a staggering 10%.

The lead author, professor Clare Bambra, said: “This report demonstrates the connection between poor productivity and higher rates of ill health in the north. If you improve health in the north you will improve its productivity – potentially benefiting the whole of the UK’s economy.

“For the Northern Powerhouse to reach its full potential there needs to be increased investment in place-based public health in local authorities.”

Further, the report claimed that improving health in the north would reduce the £4 gap in productivity per person per hour between the Northern Powerhouse and the rest of England by 30%. Similarly, Increasing the NHS budget by 10% in the Northern Powerhouse would decrease rates of economic inactivity by three percentage points.

Bambra added: “There needs to be increased NHS funding in the north, spent on prevention services and health science research.

“Poorer health in the north affects the entire country’s economy, a healthier Northern Powerhouse will mean a healthier UK economy.”

Investment in the north of England's health and care systems will be discussed extensively at next year's EvoNorth. Don't miss your chance to attend, visit the website here. 

image credit - NORRIE3699

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