RSM hosted a Health Inequalities conference in January, third time lucky as it had been previously cancelled for covid and then Her Majesties death. It was fully booked out and we were treated to an excellent tour de force of the data by Prof Bola Owolabi, Director of National Healthcare Inequalities Team, NHS England and Prof Marmot, UCL Institute of Health Equity and many others. They revisited the Marmot review 10 years on.
The data is stark, mortality has stagnated since 2010 in the UK where it has not in other European countries, with those who are more deprived more significantly more affected than those who are not.
Much of this is down to social determinants, but there were things that we as healthcare workers and leaders could be doing to make a difference. Our future workforce need to deliver exceptional quality healthcare for all through equitable access, excellent experience and optimal outcomes.
The key take home message for me was we can all play our part in making a difference and education and training would be vital. We need to raise awareness, targeting the preventable factors that can make the biggest differences to the mortality gap; cardiovascular disease, smoking, chronic respiratory disease, early cancer diagnosis, maternal health and mental health. And sharpen the focus on groups that contribute to that mortality gap; those incarcerated, homeless, travelling families and pregnant women.
I have taken away the idea that how we introduce our workforce to the organisation and in particular our rotating doctors in training needs to change. How will they understand what people might need if they don’t understand the local area and those who may be higher risk of receiving quality healthcare? How can we inspire them as they join our organisations to play their part in the populations we are serving locally?
Dr Dominique Allwood, Chief Medical Officer at UCLPartners described that at her organisations induction they take new staff on a tour of the local area, so when they see someone from an area they know what it means to be form that community. They also give new staff a coffee shop voucher for local businesses to encourage people to understand their surroundings and the people the conditions of the people are serving.
Using the induction process to inspire better care for our local populations seems something we can all do as medical education leaders.
Prof Helen Steed, West Midlands