Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Priorities for tackling health inequalities in the national recovery from COVID-19

Morning, Tuesday, 20th April 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the key policy priorities for tackling health inequalities in the national recovery from COVID-19.

We are very pleased to be able to include a keynote contribution from Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London.

Key areas for discussion will also include:

  • research and evidence - understanding the impact of the pandemic on inequalities, and key challenges it has highlighted, as well as the use of data and population health approaches
  • policy priorities - including investment and cross-government coordination
  • tackling variation - supporting vulnerable communities, addressing regional imbalances, and tackling digital exclusion
  • initiatives at a local level - place-based working, healthy communities, and the role of health service networks, local authorities, the third sector, and community groups

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons and key policy officials who are due to attend from the DfE; DHSC; and the ONS.

The agenda:

  • The way forward for tackling health inequalities in the recovery from the pandemic
  • Priority actions - assessing the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities, national policy and cross-government collaboration, funding and investment, and key steps for supporting vulnerable communities
  • Addressing national variation in health inequalities in the wake of the pandemic
  • Opportunities for place-based working at the system level and utilising population health methods
  • Scaling up health and wellbeing initiatives and engaging with local communities in service delivery
  • Working with the community to overcome digital and health inequality
  • Tackling health inequalities at the local level - improving outcomes for ethnic minority groups, the role of primary care, community engagement, developing healthy places, and optimising system-wide collaboration

Key areas for discussion:


  • impact and the response - examining key areas where this national crisis has shone a spotlight on health inequalities, and how the challenges of the pandemic and recovery are being tackled
  • inequalities - assessing what has been done to identify and mitigate the impact that the virus poses to different groups, particularly those with increased risk of experiencing poor outcomes
  • engagement - how well have communication campaigns worked in reaching vulnerable groups, and tailoring messages for specific local communities, including on tackling vaccine hesitancy

National policy

  • priorities - how should action on tackling inequalities be embedded into the Government’s objectives and planning as it leads the nation’s recovery from the pandemic
  • coordination and leadership:
    • increasing collaborative approaches across Government for tackling health inequalities, and developing a more joined-up policy framework
    • setting an example for the rest of the country to follow, and ways to increase national responsibility for health inequalities
  • integration with wider policy:
    • the importance of tackling health inequalities as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ programme
    • opportunities for integrating the social determinants of health within the programme for successful delivery
  • the NIHP - what should be the role of the new National Institute for Health Protection in the future of public health in England and tackling health inequalities

Funding and investment

  • priorities - identifying the most important targets for urgent funding in the wake of the pandemic
  • opportunities - using the Levelling Up Fund, as well as further strategies for long-term investment to improve health inequalities and tackle identified areas of deprivation
  • addressing national variation - looking at:
    • investment and funding allocation to tackle the north-south divide in life expectancy and health inequalities
    • how the pandemic has highlighted divisions, and ways that this can be addressed as the country moves through recovery from the pandemic


  • place-based focus - the role of increased working at a local, person-centred level in national health policy, and of integrated care systems in delivering improvements in local health inequalities
  • population health - use of data and local insight to identify and target health inequalities within communities, sharing best practice, and how to widen the use of population health approaches
  • system collaboration:
    • overcoming barriers to partnership working across the NHS, local government, the third sector, employment, education, and housing services
    • best practice in developing ways of working efficiently as a system, and pooling resources

Local initiatives

  • health services - priorities for commissioning, as well as the role of primary care networks in addressing health inequalities, and provision of the support they need
  • local authorities:
    • opportunities for building on the positive work identified in The Marmot Review 10 Years On and how to scale up successful approaches
    • delivering safe and accessible housing, and innovating health and wellbeing initiatives across local government
  • local stakeholders - strategies for engaging with community groups, businesses and individuals to design and optimise the services they use
  • the third sector:
    • their role in in supporting efforts to address health inequalities
    • opportunities for optimising collaboration
    • lessons that can be learned from the response of charities and voluntary groups to providing community support during the pandemic


  • where can it help most - priorities for innovation in services and kit to best support health and wellbeing, including wearable technology and ways of easing social exclusion and loneliness
  • access - addressing digital exclusion, widening internet access and improving digital literacy, and what can be learned from tackling challenges in access to digital healthcare through the pandemic

Inequality affecting ethnic minority groups

  • research and evidence - identifying and improving understanding of the social determinants of health affecting people from ethnic minority backgrounds and their communities
  • the impact of the pandemic - changes in awareness of inequality in different groups within the population, and what has been learned for mitigating issues and improving outcomes going forward

Healthy and sustainable places

  • priorities - addressing links between deprived areas and poor environmental health
  • the wider policy agenda - looking at ways of harnessing developments seen around air pollution and active travel through the pandemic
  • further action - what more needs to be done to mitigate the impact on deprived and vulnerable communities

A scan of relevant developments:

  • Build Back Fairer: The COVID-19 Marmot Review - the UCL Institute of Health Equity assessing the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities, with recommendations for action
  • NHS Long Term Plan:
    • establishing integrated care networks and a focus on working at a place-based level
    • commitments including measurable goals to reduce health inequalities and the allocation of funding for areas with the greatest need
  • the health and social care white paper - including work to tackle health inequalities, as well as proposals on calorie labelling and food advertising
  • Advancing Our Health: Prevention in the 2020s green paper - including measures to incentivise prevention across the health system, engage with industry partners and address inequalities
  • Inquiries by the Women and Equalities Committee:
    • Unequal impact? Coronavirus and BAME people - looking into pre-existing inequalities facing ethnic minorities and the implications regarding COVID-19
    • Take up of the COVID-19 vaccines in BAME communities and women ­- recently announced
    • Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services - as concerns are more widely shared regarding the higher risk of death for disabled people, with regard to COVID-19
  • COVID-19: understanding the impact on BAME communities report - from PHE, looking into why ethnic minority groups are at greater risk
  • Community Champions to give COVID-19 vaccine advice and boost take up - funding for 60 charities and voluntary groups to improve engagement, communication and the provision of correct information with at-risk groups, overcoming barriers and supporting vaccine take up
  • Action required to tackle health inequalities in latest phase of COVID-19 response and recovery - from NHS England, on increasing preventative programmes, digital inclusion in care pathways, inclusivity in the re-opening of services, and improving leadership
  • the Spending Review - including the £4bn Levelling Up Fund, £254m for reducing homelessness, as well as funding for housing safety and affordability and local government COVID-19 community response
  • Air Quality and coronavirus: a glimpse of a different future or business as usual - recent air quality report from the EFRA Committee highlighting the negative impact of poor air quality on disadvantaged communities
  • the Air Quality Strategy - including commitments around:
    • local targeted action for areas with poor air pollution
    • air quality messaging systems to improve communication to those vulnerable to air pollution
    • guidance for local authorities to help them make air quality improvements

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons, and officials from the Department for Education; Department of Health and Social Care; and the Office for National Statistics.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of public policy, together with representatives from the NHS including clinical staff, executive agencies, local health systems, primary care networks, local authorities, public health professionals, housing associations, social care providers, the independent and third sectors, patient groups, pharmaceutical and technology companies, research and development institutions, law firms and consultancies, academics and think tanks, and reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Professor Sir Michael Marmot

Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London

Bevleigh Evans

Head of Population Health Management, NHS England & Improvement

Keynote Speakers

Professor Sir Michael Marmot

Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London

Mehrunisha Suleman

Senior Research Fellow and Lead, COVID-19 impact inquiry, The Health Foundation

Jazz Bhogal

Assistant Director, Health, Education and Youth, Greater London Authority

Hannah Davies

Head of External Affairs, Northern Health Science Alliance

Professor Kate Pickett

Professor of Epidemiology and Deputy Director, Centre for Future Health, University of York and Chair, Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission

Councillor Asher Craig

Deputy Mayor, Communities, Equalities and Public Health, Bristol City Council

Karyn Morrissey

Associate Professor of Population Health, University of Exeter and Principal Investigator, Smartline

Dr Bola Owolabi

Director, Health Inequalities, NHS England & Improvement; and Deputy Medical Director, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Bevleigh Evans

Head of Population Health Management, NHS England & Improvement


Dr Parth Patel

Research Fellow, Institute for Public Policy Research and Clinical Research Fellow, Institute of Health Informatics, UCL

Dr Mohammed Sattar

GP, Woodhouse Medical Practice

Jabeer Butt

Deputy Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Nicholas Bungay

Director of Strategy and External Affairs, Habinteg

Marcel Vige

Head of Equality Improvement, Mind

Larissa Lockwood

Director of Clean Air, Global Action Plan