To improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of the people of Coventry, reducing inequality is vital. Where someone is born, where they live, whether they work or not and what they do all affect how long someone will live, how healthy they will be and what quality of life they will experience. Men in the most affluent areas of the city will live, on average, 9.4 years longer than men in the most deprived areas, while for women the difference is 8.7 years. These inequalities in life expectancy and health arise out of inequalities in society – they are not inevitable – and there are ethical, social and economic reasons why they should be prevented. As well as improving health outcomes, reducing inequality in society has been shown to lead to improvements in wellbeing, better mental health, better community and social relations, reduced levels of violence and better educational attainment.
Tackling the causes of health inequalities cannot be done through health services alone. The transfer of public health services to local authorities in April 2013 provided Coventry with an opportunity to continue to broaden the ownership of the health inequalities agenda. Coventry committed to delivering rapid change in health inequalities by 2015 and was one of seven cities in the UK invited to participate in the UK Marmot Network and become a Marmot City. Being part of the Marmot Network has provided Coventry with access to the international expertise of the Marmot Team based at University College London.
Being a Marmot City has brought together partners from different parts of Coventry City Council and from other public sector and voluntary organisations, whose decisions and activities have an impact on health. The Marmot principles, from the Marmot Review, Fair Society, Healthy Lives which aim to reduce inequality and improve health outcomes for all have been embedded into the core functions of the council and its partners, Improving health and reducing inequalities in Coventry is not only a priority for the NHS and public health – it is a priority for everyone who is working to improve the lives of people in the city.
Since Coventry became a Marmot City in 2013, there has been progress in outcomes across health and across society. There have been improvements in school readiness at age 5, health outcomes, life satisfaction, employment and reductions in crime in priority locations. A number of innovative projects and initiatives have been set up which are starting to yield positive results for the people of Coventry.
For more information on the difference that Coventry has made since becoming a Marmot City in 2013, please download the report, Making a difference in tough times, which focuses on the stories of individuals and communities and the difference that Coventry’s work as a Marmot City has made to them. You can also watch our video, which features key leaders from across the city outlining the ways that being a Marmot City has made a difference over the last two years and will continue to do so.
In March 2016, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, Dr Ann Marie Connolly, Director of Health Equity and Impact at Public Health England and Councillor Ann Lucas, Leader of Coventry City Council as well as partners across Coventry City Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, Voluntary Action Coventry and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce committed to work together as a Marmot City for a further three years.
Tackling health inequalities and working in partnership as a Marmot City for the next three years is one of the three priorities in Coventry's Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2016-2019. To find out more about Coventry's strategy to reduce health inequalities for the next three years, please download the Marmot Strategy Summary and watch the video of the Marmot City launch for 2016-2019.