Person skateboarding in South London


Why we need detailed data to tackle inequalities in health 

We recently launched Lambeth and Southwark’s largest-ever survey on health and wellbeing with Opinium Research. 

Jenny Steele
Jenny Steele
Data Partnerships

At Impact on Urban Health, we know that even a small geographic distance can have significant impact on the lives of the people living there; from their unique needs to their wellbeing and health.

These inequalities are worsening. Data from the ONS shows that the health gap between the rich and poor has grown in recent years. In 2018 to 2020, men living in the most deprived areas were living 9.7 years fewer than men living in the least deprived areas, with the gap at 7.9 years for women.

People from racially minoritised communities are also more likely to experience ill-health. Where we work in Lambeth and Southwark, our research looking at primary care data with King’s College London shows that people from racially minoritised communities are more likely to live with one or more chronic health conditions than their white counterparts. 47 per cent of Black Caribbean patients had more than two long-term health conditions – compared to 31 per cent of White British patients.

However, the data that exists on health at a hyper-local level is limited: the Greater London Public Health team identified recurrent gaps in health inequalities intelligence and highlighted a particular need for “more granular data at a local level and cut by dimensions of inequality in particular ethnicity, disability and other protected characteristics.”

Understanding the lives of residents – how they feel about their homes, their jobs, and their wellbeing – becomes more meaningful the more we investigate the detail.

Understanding Your Health & Wellbeing Survey

Without a better understanding of the challenges faced by communities in Lambeth and Southwark, we cannot get to the root of the causes of inequalities in health.  That is why we launched Lambeth and Southwark’s largest ever survey on health and wellbeing with Opinium Research. 

Centring the issues that matter to residents was critical and to make sure the information was gathered sensitively, we worked with ClearView, who are expert community researchers.

ClearView selected eight local residents and gave them training in community research methodologies and the subject areas they would be investigating. To complement the quantitative research being managed by Opinium, focus groups hosted by ClearView will deepen our understanding of the issues residents find most pressing, such as housing, trust, and discrimination.

Once the research has been completed, we will work together to share the results of our survey with residents and empower them to get involved in designing solutions to improve health.

What are we hoping to find out?

Through responses from over 4000 residents in Lambeth and Southwark, we hope to build a more detailed and holistic view of the factors that affect health and wellbeing across both boroughs. 

This means that we’ll be looking at how different factors – such as the specific area a resident lives in, their ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, or access to green spaces or the internet – affects residents’ health outcomes and access to health and wellbeing services. 

Health is complex. We also can’t achieve health equity without achieving equity in other areas of daily life. This is why the survey includes questions on wider determinants of health such as being in stable employment or good housing.  

What will we do with the data?

Reducing health inequalities is much more difficult without data that captures the current context. The information we gather will help local councils, community organisations and services figure out how they can better tailor the support they provide to have the most impact. 

Data at ward level will help us understand if there are particular pockets of need in areas that might be disguised by health data that we currently have.

Both Lambeth and Southwark Councils have committed to Health and Wellbeing Strategies that aim to reduce inequalities within their boroughs. This data set will inform their delivery of these strategies and highlight particular areas for increased service provision or funding. 

With robust and comprehensive data, we will have improved, usable evidence on what health and wellbeing looks like in Lambeth and Southwark.

About the survey  

Until October 8th, we are inviting all Lambeth and Southwark residents over 16 to complete the Understanding Your Health and Wellbeing Survey online.

The survey takes 15 minutes to complete online and is available in six languages: English, Arabic, Polish, Portuguese, Somali, and Spanish.

Marginalised communities across Lambeth and Southwark often miss out of being included in surveys because of their circumstance because of background, socio-economic status, or language skills. 

If you are a local organisation in Lambeth or Southwark working with minoritised groups, Opinium can work with you to see how they can support you to share the survey. 

To find out more about this, or to ask any questions you may have, contact Adam and Priya at Opinium.