Cheshire and Merseyside is working together to tackle health inequalities and become a Marmot Community

The subregion of Cheshire and Merseyside is on track to tackle health inequalities head-on by becoming a Marmot Community.

At an upcoming event, partners from across the subregion’s local governments, health and care system, voluntary, community, faith, social enterprise organisations and other public sector organisations will hear more about the ambitious goal to become a Marmot Community and how this work will improve outcomes for local people, so that they live longer, happier and healthier lives.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot and health inequalities 

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, is the author of the revolutionary report, Fair Society Healthy Lives (The Marmot Review), which, at the request of the British Government in 2010, sought to provide a strategic review of the health inequalities existing in England at the time.

This report was followed up by Sir Michael 10 years later with criticism for the lack of progress in those 10 years and calling for a renewed need for decisive and determined action, with a concentration on the social determinants of poor health and the need for health equity at the centre of all decision-making.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck soon after, which only increased the widening gap caused by poverty and ill health, and it was soon made clear that the virus did not affect all communities equally. Another rapid report by Sir Michael, published in December 2020, urged local areas to achieve a common goal for their residents – to Build Back Fairer.

The report highlighted that:

  • Inequalities in social and economic conditions before the pandemic contributed to the high and unequal death toll from COVID-19
  • The nation’s health should be the highest priority for government as we rebuild from the pandemic
  • The economy and health are strongly linked – managing the pandemic well allows the economy to flourish in the longer term, which is supportive of health
  • Reducing health inequalities, including those exacerbated by the pandemic requires long-term policies with equity at the heart
  • To build back fairer from the pandemic, multi-sector action from all levels of government is needed
  • Investment in public health needs to be increased to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on health and health inequalities, and on the social determinants of health.

How to become a Marmot Community 

Other cities and areas that are already Marmot Communities or aim to be soon include the city of Coventry and Greater Manchester. The underlying feature of all Marmot Communities is a determined and joint effort to true integration across of number of sectors in order to achieve six common goals, as set out in Sir Michael’s original report from 2010:

  1. Give every child the best start in life
  2. Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives
  3. Create fair employment and good work for all
  4. Ensure healthy standard of living for all
  5. Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities
  6. Strengthen the role and impact of ill-health prevention

Areas that are awarded the status of Marmot Community are those that can provide evidence that these six goals are seen throughout local policymaking and decision-making, and that improved health and reduced inequalities are at the centre of how the area develops approaches to early years, education and skills, transport, housing, places and spaces, and jobs and businesses.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London (UCL) and Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, who will be speaking at the event, said: 

“I am delighted to be working with Cheshire and Merseyside on the subregion’s journey to becoming a Marmot Community. It is my belief that for this kind of work, integration across the sectors, not just the health and care system, is vital. The key social determinants of health often lie outside of the health and care system, and by having a ‘cross-sector’ approach and working together with partners, we can make much greater progress and get more things done, instead of working in isolation.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cabinet Member for Poverty and Wellbeing, who is Charing the event, said: 

“We are being presented with the unique opportunity to make a real and meaningful difference to our local communities and once and for all, create a local system that places the health and wellbeing of our people above all else. We have known for years that health inequalities are holding people back from achieving their full potential and living happy and healthy lives – Sir Michael’s reports have made that very clear – and with the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbating this inequality, now is the time to grasp this opportunity with both hands. I am looking forward to chairing this event and hearing more from Sir Michael, as well as some fantastic local academics, and devising our local strategy to Build Back Fairer.”

‘Building back fairer: Cheshire and Merseyside’s Marmot Community launch event’ will be taking place virtually on Wednesday 7th July 2021 at 2pm. If you are interested in attending the event, please book your place here.