Analysis shows a place-based approach can help tackle local health determinants, resulting in improved health outcomes
A new report by leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP's Place Analytics team reveals how collaboration between local authority stakeholders can help address health quality determinants (social, economic and environmental) and result in improved health outcomes (quality of lifestyle and health conditions).
The research shows a clear North-South divide in both health outcomes and determinants. The South East ranks highly in determinant scores with 11 south east local authority areas featuring in the top 20. The region also achieves some of the best health outcomes overall, along with parts of the South West and East of England.
Conversely, despite having only two local authorities in the 20 lowest ranking authorities in terms of health determinants, the North West has a number of poor health outcomes, with 11 of the 20 lowest ranking local authorities coming from this area.
Although the data shows a high correlation between determinants and outcomes, the research highlights a number of areas that are 'over-performing' authorities which are achieving better health outcomes than their health determinant score would predict.
All of the top-ten 'over-performing' areas are in London, excepting Babergh in Suffolk. Case studies from some of these areas highlight how collaboration between public services to address these root causes of poor health (determinants) has resulted in health outcomes improving.
Phillip Woolley, Partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: "It has long been recognised that the health of a population is strongly linked to the circumstances in which people live. Our health and wellbeing index clearly supports this assertion and highlights the extent to which economic, social and environmental
determinants translate to good or bad health outcomes in their broadest sense. It also shows the scale and nature of inequality across the country and reiterates the need for a local, place-based approach to tackling health outcomes."
The report is based on league tables that assess 33 key health determinants and outcomes at local authority district level. The analysis reveals the top three determinants that most strongly correlate to health outcomes are child poverty, deprivation and unemployment. Crime ranks as only seventh strongest with childhood education, social cohesions and occupations all proven as having a bigger impact on overall health outcomes.
Phillip Woolley added: "The report is designed to promote collaboration between local authority stakeholders by increasing understanding of the correlation between the key determinants and health outcomes within their locality.
"There are a number of points to consider when implementing a place-based approach to ensure that it is as productive as possible. Differences in local authorities and NHS bodies and their regulatory, procedural, cultural and financial approaches will all need to be addressed, along with funding issues.
"Partnerships require trust from both sides to function so the effective sharing of information and communication is key. Case studies from Barnet (p. 12), Greenwich (p.15) and Richmond and Kingston (p. 14) outline some of the lessons that can be learnt from these and where collaboration has been seen to address an area’s determinants to improve health outcomes."