Report: Health Inequalities in the Age of COVID-19-Towards Fairer Health for Disadvantaged Communities

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 You need to know that people in the community - who worked tirelessly - we are still here and ready to do whatever’s needed. Funding should go to empowering people in the community.

Community partner


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Connected Voice Haref is delighted to share the findings from their 12-month research project funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration North East and North Cumbria.  The project involved 11 community partners, who live and/or work in the west end of Newcastle and the rest of the research group with staff members from Haref, Riverside Community Health Project and Newcastle University.

This research looked at the ways of getting health information, including how to use the NHS and avoid illness, to people who need it most and have greatest difficulty accessing it. We used the lens of COVID-19 messaging as a way of better understanding effective information sharing.

For this project:

  • We looked at whether/how health messages got through during the pandemic;
  • Supported people to identify effective ways to get health information they need, including how to use NHS primary care;
  • Liaised with primary care and public health practitioners throughout, to identify ways of translating findings into action.


Our main findings on health messaging are:

  • Accurate health information can be effectively circulated through established trusted connections
  • Communication barriers can be broken down through the involvement of communities, organisations and individuals
  • Trust and collaboration between people and practitioners enables effective information sharing.

The language barrier is still there, the trust issue is still there, so some people can still be isolated. You need to be there to meet the people, to know them, to let them voice their needs … people have ownership when it’s done like that.

We are working with Collaborative Newcastle, Newcastle Public Health, and the West End Family Primary Care Network to see how we can ensure we turn the findings into actions.


Our planned actions are:

  • Information sessions covering health issues identified by people who took part in the research
  • Health checks with community groups
  • Produce information about access to health services, including primary care and the 111 service
  • Circulation of information about how to feed into development of Integrated Care System
  • The Newcastle University team will publish a peer-reviewed article based on the research

You can see our recommendations and actions on page 21 of the report.


Read the report

You can download and read the full report and plain text version below.

For any more information on the report please contact