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, 10.7 years longer than men in the most deprived areas, while for women the difference is 8.4 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 Director of Public Health report, Bridging The Gap, which examines how a partnership approach between the public sector, community and voluntary organisations, businesses and universities and individuals are tackling health inequalities across the city. You can also watch the accompanying video, which focuses on many of the projects making a different to Coventry residents.
In 2019, 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. The key areas that the Marmot Partnership Group will focus on are children and young people, and ensuring all residents benefit from good economic growth in the city. Following the impact of COVID19 on the city, the Marmot Partnership is also prioritising the effect on BAME communities.
The importance of taking a partnership approach to tackling health inequalities is also embedded in the Coventry Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2023.