Charity leaders join major study into UK’s health and prosperity

Charity leaders have joined policy makers and academics in setting up a cross sector commission aimed at tackling health inequalities across the UK in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

The Commission on Health and Prosperity has been set up by think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and is co-chaired former chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies and the surgeon Lord Ara Darzi.

Among its 22 strong memberships are charity sector chief executives, British Heart Foundation’s Charmaine Griffiths, Runnymede Trust’s Christina McAnea and Disability Rights UK’s Kamran Mallick.

Also involved is the Alzheimer’s Society’s director of research Fiona Carragher, who is a former deputy chief scientific officer for NHS England.

"I am delighted to join the commission at a make-or-break moment for the nation’s health,” said BHF’s Griffiths.

“We are at a crossroads in an important national conversation about the fundamental role our health plays in the UK’s economic prosperity.”

The Commission will work over the next two years to better understand the connections between health and prosperity.

To launch the Commission the IPPR has produced a report warning of “deep health inequalities” UK wide.

“People are living shorter lives, with more years spent in poor health and face greater barriers to staying in and getting on at work,” it warns.

The think tank’s research found there are currently more than a million workers missing from the workplace.

“About 400,000 of these are no longer working because of health factors, such as long Covid, disruption to health care and declining mental health. Unresolved, this will drag down economic activity this year by an estimated £8 billion,” warns the IPPR.

Politicians involved in the Commission include Greater Manchester mayor Labour’s Andy Burnham and former Conservative cabinet minister Oliver Letwin.

Academics involved include University of Oxford professor Simon Wren-Lewis.

NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor and Unison general secretary Christina McAnea are also members.

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