Backing for bid where Mancunians’ first-hand experiences can drive health policy and progress

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By Joshephira Honey

Backing for bid where Mancunians’ first-hand experiences can drive health policy and progress

Over the last year, Manchester has been working on a bid to be a funded Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC), which is a local-government led partnership, to increase research capacity in areas where there are high levels of need or deprivation. 

Manchester submitted a proposal to the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) where every part of the Council’s work and decision-making can plug into HDRC findings to influence decisions and change how services work – especially by listening to less-heard voices in the community. 

The proposal also linked to a wide spread of other key players including voluntary and faith organisations, public and private sector partners, so that they too, can routinely use its research to inform current and future planning. 

And, now, the city has just heard that it has been identified as one of a number of areas that the NIHR would like to see undertake further development from January 1, 2024, with the expectation of becoming a full HDRC a year later in January, 2025. 

Councillor Thomas Robinson, Executive Member for Healthy Manchester and Social Care at Manchester City Council, said:

“This is a unique bid because it means that local people are at the heart of shaping policy and connecting with academia based on their own experiences. Too often communities are presented with pre-set solutions that they don’t relate to. The HDRC brings a new era in trust where local people can make their own health priorities the subject of research – and will then see the impact on local decisions. 

“Not only is that right, but it is key theme of our Making Manchester Fairer Programme. That’s our five-year action plan to address health inequity and preventable deaths by looking at all the social factors that mean that some people in the city die earlier than others.  

“Manchester is an incredible world-leading city and that’s why we want to make sure that those opportunities and expectations can be experienced by everyone who lives here.” 

Professor Arpana Verma, Academic Lead for the HDRC, said:

“This is a unique opportunity to build on our inclusive research for the full HDRC in 2025.   

“Manchester has a proud record of partnership work to bring together communities, voluntary organisations and policy partners. Our evaluations have demonstrated how including communities helps in all aspects of tackling inequalities and making sure that we don’t leave anyone behind. 

“Putting people at the heart of this exciting new initiative is vital for inclusive research and improving health and wellbeing. We look forward to building on our research-active communities and research-responsive policies to tackle inequalities together.” 

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