Aston University: Aston University and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust mark one year of working together to tackle local health inequalities

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Aston University and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) are marking one year of partnership working to tackle health inequalities in Birmingham.

In August 2021, the two organisations pledged to work together by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to co-develop preventative health initiatives and the community workforce of the future to deliver them.

In the first year of this strategic partnership, collaborative projects that have been developed have included health listening events designed to allow local community members to share their personal experiences and views on local health care provision.

These listening events were followed up by a ‘community sandpit’, where several community-led organisations and charities came together to identify small-scale projects to support local residents and promote healthy lives.
A total of £6390 was awarded to five projects at the event, including Age Concern Birmingham who received £1150 to buy tablets and tablet cases to launch a digital library at Moorfield Hall Community Centre. Thanks to the tablets, community members will be able to access information about health eating and recipes apps such as Whisk or NHS ones.

This project was run in collaboration with social science experts in Aston University’s College of Business and Social Sciences (BSS), whose work focuses on addressing the social issues that lead to poor health outcomes. BSS and BCHC are also working together on the larger ‘Community Connexions’ project – a patient and public engagement programme that seeks to capture the lived experiences of local communities and to use this to adapt healthcare services.

Aston University also signed a service level agreement with BCHC to host Aston Medical School student placements.
Both organisations further signalled their commitment to work together for the benefit of Birmingham with BCHC being one of the signatories of Aston University’s Civic Agreement.

Professor Anthony Hilton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, said:

“This Memorandum of Understanding is a strong commitment from both organisations to work together to tackle the health inequalities in our city. Significant joint working has taken place during the first year of our partnership and we look forward to continuing to work closely with BCHC for the benefit of Birmingham and the West Midlands region.”

“Our goal is to increase the number of qualified healthcare professionals in the West Midlands, working to redress the many health challenges of our region. I hope that our partnership will encourage our qualified doctors and scientists to seek jobs in community practice, primary care and our local hospitals and working with Birmingham Community Healthcare will build their network across the region.”

Dr Doug Simkiss, medical director of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The collaborative partnership between BCHC and Aston University represents an opportunity for BCHC and Aston University to be key players in addressing health inequalities and transforming our healthcare system for the benefit of those who use it.”

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