University of Leicester and NHS experts lead health equity debate at the Labour Conference

Pictured from left: Rachel Sylvester, political columnist at The Times and Chair of The Times Health Commission; Dr Ruw Abeyratne and Professor Manish Pareek.

Experts from the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester travelled to the Labour Party Conference to advise policymakers on how to tackle the UK’s health inequalities.

Professor Manish Pareek and Dr Ruw Abeyratne, addressed an audience of health policymakers, gathered at a party fringe event, held in Liverpool in partnership with the Reform Think Tank, on Tuesday 10 October. It took place as the Labour Party looks to develop policy ideas ahead of formulating its manifesto for the General Election.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Leicester academics were the first to identity that Covid-19 had a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities. The findings, highlighted to the Government’s SAGE committee in April 2020, were influential in the UK’s pandemic response. 

Speaking alongside Debbie Abrahams MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Health in All Policies, and Rachel Sylvester, political columnist at The Times and Chair of The Times Health Commission, Professor Pareek spoke about his research and the importance of tackling inequities.

The University's Clinical Professor in Infectious Diseases said: “Addressing health inequity is vital for the success of the UK and our economy. Our research in Leicester has shone a light on the stark inequalities that persist in the UK today.

“However, as we proved during the pandemic, if universities work closely with hospitals, partners, and the community, we can make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Dr Abeyratne, Director of Health Equality and Inclusion at University Hospitals Leicester, spoke about the importance of working with local communities to understand local needs and address inequity.

She said: “Leicester is one of the UK’s only plural cities and we have areas of significant socioeconomic disadvantage. That is why we are collaborating with universities, partners, and our communities to listen, understand and address health inequalities wherever they exist.”