Inequalities in the north cost the UK economy £ 7.3 billion in the first year of the pandemic

A REPORT released today shows Northerners were more likely to die from COVID-19, spent almost a month and a half longer in lockdown, had poorer mental health, and became poorer than the rest of England in the first year of the pandemic.

About half of the increased COVID-19 mortality and two-thirds of the increased overall mortality were explained by preventable higher deprivation and poorer health in the north before the pandemic.

The report from the Northern Health Science Alliance, Policy @ Manchester and the Northern National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboratives (NIHR ARCs) highlighted the devastating impact of the pandemic on people across northern England.

The report found:

  • People living in the north had a 17% higher death rate than the rest of England due to COVID-19. Her all cause mortality rate was 14% higher.
  • About half of the increased COVID-19 mortality in the north and two-thirds of the increased overall mortality were explained by potentially preventable higher deprivation and poorer health prior to the pandemic.
  • The north nursing home’s COVID-19 mortality rate was 26% higher than the rest of England.
  • In the north, 10% more hospital beds were occupied by COVID patients than in the rest of England.
  • Increased mortality in northern England could cost the economy up to £ 7.3 billion in lost productivity. This will likely be a conservative underestimate as the north’s economy has also been hit the hardest.
  • On average, people live in the north had 41 more days of toughest restrictions than people in the rest of the country.
  • The north saw greater drops in mental well-being, more loneliness, and higher rates of antidepressant prescriptions: in the north, there was a 55% increase in the presence of minor psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression compared to a 50% increase in the rest England.
  • Wages in the north were lower than in the rest of England before the pandemic and continued to decline during the COVID-19 pandemic (from £ 543.90 to £ 541.30 per week), while wages in the rest of the country rose (from 600 , £ 80 to £ 604.00). per week).
  • The unemployment rate in the north was 19% higher than in the rest of England.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country unevenly, with a disproportionate impact on northern England – and widened regional health and economic divisions. The Northern Health Science Alliance commissioned the report to understand the impact of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and productivity in the north and to identify opportunities to improve regional health and productivity.

The report shows the unequal health and economic impact of COVID-19 on the north with higher death and unemployment rates associated with COVID-19.

The authors of the report make a number of recommendations to the government, including:

  • Local vaccination programs for vulnerable populations in the north of England.
  • Increase the resources of the NHS and local authorities and the provision of mental health services in the north. Invest in research into mental health interventions in the North.
  • Invest in increasing capacity in northern hospitals to help them catch up with non-COVID-19 healthcare.
  • Make health an important part of an integrated leveling up strategy.
  • Make another effort to end child poverty. Increase child benefit, increase the child share of the universal credit by £ 20 per week, expand the provision of free childcare, remove the benefit cap and the two-child limit and expand the provision of free school meals. Invest in services for children by increasing state grants for local authorities in the north.
  • Receive and increase the £ 1,000 Universal Loan Additional Funding.
  • Make additional resources available to local authorities and the NHS in the north by increasing the existing weighting of NHS health inequalities within the NHS funding formula in its reset and recovery plans.
  • Provision of a dedicated fund of 1 billion
  • Creation of “Health for Life” centers in the north offering a lifelong program of health and health advice and support services from pregnancy to healthy aging programs.
  • Work with industry and employers to implement health and mental health promotion activities that target the mental and physical health of employees.
  • Increase investment in healthcare research and development in the north of England to create quality jobs and support local health and stimulate the economy. Invest in North’s testing and diagnostic infrastructure.
  • Strengthening the resilience of the population of the north by developing a national strategy for action on the social determinants of health with the aim of reducing health inequalities, with a focus on children.

Dr. Luke Munford of the University of Manchester said: “The pandemic has hit us all hard in different ways, but our report shows that people in the north have been hardest hit, both in terms of health and wealth. The fact that over half of the increased COVID-19 mortality and two-thirds of all mortality were potentially preventable should be a real wake-up call. We need to invest in the health of the people of the north to ensure they can recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. “

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