Health and Wellbeing Alliance launch guidance on tackling health inequalities within NHS services with a digital component
- VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance
- Health inequalities
- Digital health and care
The resource, which was jointly developed by voluntary sector organisations with extensive reach into diverse communities who experience health inequalities, highlights how groups of people who experience the greatest barriers to accessing health and care are often the most likely to experience digital exclusion.
The resource includes detailed insights into how digital exclusion affects groups who experience health inequalities, such as people with learning disabilities, people seeking asylum, people in contact with the criminal justice system, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and others.
The guidance also highlights the key actions people who design health and care can take to tackle inequality and disadvantage when using digital tools, for example by:
- Making a clear public commitment to respect the choices individuals make about when and how they want to access health and care services through remote and digital models.
- Considering accessibility and inclusion from the outset – by testing design assumptions with diverse groups of people and ensuring tools meet diverse communication needs.
- Thinking creatively about practical things that can be done to support and enable people (who want to) to use digital tools.
Sarah Sweeney, Interim Chief Executive of National Voices says:
The shift to digital in health and care has changed how we all access health services, making it easier for some and more difficult for others. With this in mind, this new resource from the Health and Wellbeing Alliance sets out five key actions to tackle inequality and disadvantage when using digital tools. Health inequalities are unjust and avoidable differences in health across the population – we all have a role in making sure everyone can access the health and care they need.
The report is part of a wider body of work by the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance, whose mission it is to enable policy, commissioning and provider organisations to design services and support based on the needs of people and communities who face disadvantage and exclusion.
In 2022-2023, voluntary and community sector organisations from the HW Alliance have partnered up with policy leads from across the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency to deliver 54 projects which aim to reduce health inequalities. The full list of projects can be accessed here:
Projects organised by theme. View here.
Projects organised by member. View here.
National Voices and NAVCA act as joint co-ordinators of the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance, which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency.