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Q&A with Prof Durka Dougall

Prof Durka Dougall

Dr Durka Dougall, Programme Director at The King's Fund, will be speaking on day 4 of the National Voices' conference, How Can We Dismantle Health Inequity Together? Ahead of her appearance in the conference, where we will look to the future, she has answered some questions about health inequity.

  • How Can We Dismantle Health Inequity Together?
  • Health inequalities
  • COVID-19
  • Lived experience

Q: Why is this conference to bring the VCSE sector together to talk about ways of dismantling health inequity so important?

Answer: Addressing health inequalities has always been an important part of population health, and public health, and personally to me. COVID-19 has demonstrated an urgent need to focus on this, and the VCSE sector plays such an important role in this. It is great that National Voices is holding this conference, both because of its great work on COVID voices, but more generally being a champion of the voice of the public and of the VCSE. I am delighted to be taking part and look forward to exploring this important area more on the day.

Q: What subject are you hoping to focus on at the conference and why?

Answer: I am looking forward to hearing more about the good work that is happening in the VCSE to address inequalities and also hearing more about the challenges being faced, and how we at The King’s Fund can keep supporting health and care leaders to optimise their efforts in population health and tackling health inequalities. It is an important time when there is much COVID challenge ongoing, but also reforms unfolding. It is important to connect the various efforts, share learning, and also ensure any changes put population health and health inequalities at the heart in order to make a difference for the people that matter – the public, service users, their families, communities, staff and people working tirelessly to support them.

Q: What are your hopes for the sector going forward in terms of inequity and inequality in health?

Answer: I would like to see the VCSE sector leading in the efforts to address health inequalities, not only through their contributions to supporting people on the ground (and recognition about this) but also at every level of health and care, integrated care systems, primary care networks, place based partnerships, working across organisations using their knowledge, expertise and skills to shape emerging policy and plans by championing the voice of citizens and the real lived experience to ensure that what results is genuine meaningful change. This can only happen in partnership with the VCSE sector and I would encourage health and care leaders to listen to the messages that emerge from the conference to consider how best to use these insights to benefit their populations also.


Professor Durka Dougall is Programme Director at The King’s Fund