NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

Addressing Health Inequalities across Greater Manchester

Addressing Health Inequalities is a major strategic focus across the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (MBRC), carried out in partnership with the Manchester Clinical Research Facility and our NHS and academic partners to maximise understanding, impact, and outcomes.

  1. We have continued to tell our story of impact – how clinical research and public involvement can make a difference to health inequalities, through co-authored blogs and co-presented  webinars on COVID-19, inequalities and public involvement; co-created events – including as developers and speakers at the Reaching New Members in a Virtual World event; and informed policy, including through joint input to a government enquiry.
  2. We have addressed barriers and opportunities to inclusive research. Responding to researcher need, we developed detailed health inequalities briefing notes for Manchester BRC researchers across our cancer, musculoskeletal, and respiratory themes; a briefing note on mental health and inequalities also helped support researcher awareness of health inequalities. We designed and distributed a survey of researchers and research staff across the MBRC & MCRF, to understand better the learning needs of researchers in regards health inequalities, results are currently being analysed. With Vocal, BRAG, University of Manchester (i3HS), and as part of the Manchester BRC training programme, we have co-developed e-learning on Inclusive Research.
  3. We have undertaken a second equality review of participation in Manchester CRF research, with potential for implementation in Manchester BRC research and beyond. This data will be compared to selected national and local comparison data. We routinely collect anonymised demographic data relating to people engaged and involved in Vocal’s work. Emerging results show that we are engaging more ethnically diverse public contributors, as compared to selected national and local comparison data.
  4. Our localised approach interventions have included working in the Wigan area; engaging with community, primary care and patient groups, to better understand structural barriers to participation in experimental medicine research. This builds upon the learning from place-based engagement programmes with respiratory research in Wythenshawe (Breathtaking Lungs), Advanced Radiotherapy research in Oldham and online (Radiotherapy & Me) and through engagement focused on mental wellbeing in Oldham (Ideas Fund).
  • Our place-based activities have highlighted how joined-up working across integrated care systems, local primary care services, research infrastructure and community organisations, is essential to supporting ‘research-ready’ communities according to their needs. Gaps in communication still exist between all agencies and our next steps will address this by partnering with community organisations, GM health and research infrastructure (including the Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester and Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester) to develop a mutually beneficial network that will:
    • Ensure health research awareness and routes to research participation reach local residents
    • Develop key stakeholder relationships in areas of low participation
    • Support community centres to improve their local offers, house PPIE focus groups and link into funding opportunities
    • Further develop relationships between primary care facilities, community organisations and Manchester BRC by offering patient involvement support and opportunities.