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Improving health in the North

Leeds Beckett University is at the forefront of a drive to improve health in the North.

Picture of doctor or nurse taking a patient's blood pressure

The University has joined forces with other higher education institutions across the region to address increasing health inequalities.

Research has shown that over half the population of the North has a lower life expectancy than the worst area in the South.

The scale of the issue has led to the creation of the Northern Universities’ Public Health Alliance (NUPHA), which includes more than 20 Northern universities as well as Public Health England, the

Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and N8 Research Partnership.

Professor Jane South, from Leeds Beckett University’s School of Health & Community Studies, welcomed the formation of the NUPHA.

“This is a real opportunity to work together with other Northern universities to improve evidence and share knowledge about what works to reduce health inequalities,” said Jane, who is also a national advisor for Public Health England.

“We hope to bring our expertise and experience of research with communities into this collaboration.”

According to figures from health reports focused on the North, 88% of Northern council areas have a lower female life expectancy than the England average, and 86% have a lower male life expectancy.

Research has also shown that female life expectancy in 66% of the North is lower than the area with the lowest female life expectancy in the South. For male life expectancy, 46% of the North is lower than the southern area.

Professor Paul Johnstone, Regional Director for Public Health England (North) and a visiting professor at Leeds Beckett said: “For so long now the North lags behind the rest of the country economically and in health.

“(Health report) Due North set out the evidence to underpin action on health inequalities and we have been using this in the last five years since its publication.

“New approaches to addressing inequalities are emerging all the time and the NUPHA will be key to supporting practitioners and decision makers with the best evidence.”

NUPHA aims to build on the messages of the Due North report, the early work of the Equal North Network and the NHSA’s Health for Wealth report.

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