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Making health services accessible to all

Making health services accessible to all

Access to, and engagement with, health services for disadvantaged communities has been improved - thanks to a research framework developed at Bradford.

The capabilities framework aims to understand and address equality, diversity and inclusion issues as viewed by health organisations when formulating policy and practice. The framework has been adopted by a range of organisations leading to improved community health and wellbeing.

Researchers from the School of Management worked with a national social research think tank which led to an on-going collaboration between the researchers, the NHS, a social enterprise and the think tank. By focusing on community health issues, these organisations have used the framework to enhance equality, fairness and quality of life through the redesign of these services. The researchers found that, where community-level concerns were given a clearer and relevant voice, the solutions were more appropriate and effective - leading to increased engagement. For example, the participating Primary Care Trust (PCT), began using community nurses to target those least likely to seek healthcare despite being the most likely to need interventions to prevent further ill-health. This resulted in a reduction of health inequalities and improved community health.

The participating social enterprise provides health care services to disadvantaged communities, new migrants and marginalised members of society. Adoption of the capabilities framework led to designated health trainers working with communities to offer health advice, work with individuals to develop tailored plans and connect with those who had previously failed to access the health service. Some of these previously marginalised individuals have now become health trainers themselves; this improved engagement with the community has led to reductions in smoking and obesity, which in turn will reduce the demand for health services whilst increasing life skills and economic prospects.

For more information about this type of research, go to Centre for Research in Organisations and Work.

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