We, alongside the University of Kent, have won funding for a partnership to tackle poor health and health inequalities through research.
The multimillion-pound investment by the government's National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) aims to boost local authorities’ capacity and capability to conduct high-quality research and embed a culture of evidence-based decision-making within local government.
Thirteen new partnerships (Health Determinants Research Collaborations - HDRCs) have been announced, spanning England and Scotland, aiming to build the evidence for what works in councils to improve and protect the health of the population and to ensure that policy follows the evidence, particularly responding to the needs of underserved people.
Our HDRC, with the University of Kent, after considering local needs, will facilitate research to inform how to tackle the key health problems, for example, poor mental health, unhealthy environments, substance misuse and obesity.
Sustainably addressing health inequalities
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: "Medway has a strong record when it comes to successfully bidding for funding and five million pounds is a substantial amount of money to develop ways to sustainably address health inequalities. We already work closely with the University of Kent and this research programme will build on our existing relationship to provide people locally with better opportunities and outcomes."
Supporting residents all year round
Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, added: "I am delighted that Medway has been chosen to be a Health Determinants Research Collaboration site by the National Institute for Health and Care Research. Medway’s Public Health team already works hard to support residents all year round to achieve better health outcomes and by working collaboratively with the University of Kent to develop research expertise we will be able to directly address and further meet the health needs of communities across Medway."
Better health for Medway residents
Kent’s Lindsay Forbes, Professor of Public Health in the Centre for Health Services Studies, said: "I feel privileged to be leading the University’s part in developing the Medway Health Determinants Research Collaboration. This is a wonderful opportunity to breathe life into the aspiration of Medway Council to become an organisation that makes research evidence a key part of its decision-making and values its role in building the evidence about what works to improve people’s health. With this funding, council staff, alongside the university and the people of Medway, will be empowered to test the cost-effectiveness of its activities and develop new ways of delivering better value for its council taxpayers, which will ultimately lead to better health for the people of Medway."