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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Major Grant Awarded To Help Reduce Health Inequalities In Surrey

A major grant of around £5 million has been awarded to Surrey County Council and the University of Surrey to tackle poor health and health inequalities in Surrey.

The investment from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) is for a Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) that will bring together experts from the council, university and other partners to ensure a research-led and evidence-based approach to meeting health priorities.

HDRCs are designed to centre around local residents who will influence policymaking by setting research priorities. The grant will enable evidence to be compiled for what works, for who and when to improve and protect the health of the population. Aiming to build the evidence for how to meet the needs of local people, the grant will facilitate research to inform how lifestyle, social, economic, built and natural environment factors (also known as the wider determinants of health) affect health, for example: poor housing conditions, food poverty and air quality.

Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “This ambitious project will facilitate a rigorous focus on health inequalities in Surrey. The substantial funding will ensure sustainability in our approach. We already work closely with the University of Surrey and this research programme will build on our existing relationship to provide people locally with better opportunities and outcomes.”

Ruth Hutchinson, Surrey County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The NIHR grant is exciting as it will enable us to work more collaboratively with the University of Surrey, Districts and Boroughs and local communities to directly meet people’s health needs in Surrey, leading to better outcomes.”

Professor Paul A. Townsend, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, added: “I feel privileged to be leading the University’s part in developing the Surrey Health Determinants Research Collaboration."

“Our nationally and globally recognised strengths in healthcare research and practice, especially in the School of Health Sciences which will drive this project, our commitment to the communities of Surrey and our partnership with Surrey County Council will help us ensure locally-driven research priorities are driving real and positive change in tackling health inequalities."

“This excellent award follows our recent launch of the Surrey Academic Health and Care Science Partnership, a collaborative health and care focussed consortium between the University, Surrey County Council, Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board and Health Innovation Kent Sussex Surrey. Surrey County Council already uses research to inform decision making, but together we will use the Health Determinants Research Collaboration to build the role of evidence in accelerating improvements in people’s health.”

The HDRCs will help to stimulate economic growth, particularly in some of the most deprived areas of the country and contribute to the Government’s plans to take action for the longer-term resilience of the health and wealth of the country.

Ten HDRCs based in local authorities across the UK will commence formally on 1 January 2025. Six further teams (including Surrey) will be given funding to undertake additional developmental work to enable HDRC status by 1 January 2025.

Find out more here


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