Poverty and the health care system: the role of data and partnership in bringing change

The findings from a joint project between CPP and The King's Fund.

20 October 2022

By Rosie Fogden, David Buck, Ben Franklin and Toby Lewis

2 minute read

The Centre for Progressive Policy and The King’s Fund joined forces in spring 2022 to explore how the health and care system can better respond to the causes and impacts of poverty. The two organisations support local leaders in the health and care system and in the field of economic development respectively.

We've now published a joint long read of our findings which you can read here.

While the two-way relationship between health and deprivation is relatively well documented, the development of health and care systems that take socio-economic circumstances into account in decision-making is made challenging by local institutional boundaries and information gaps. To start addressing these problems, we have worked with health and local authority organisations to understand their perspectives on poverty and particularly the role of data in mitigating, reducing and preventing poverty and its effects on health.

Changes to the health and care system, most notably the emergence of integrated care systems (ICSs), have created opportunities to systematically embed joint working between ICSs and their partners, including local and national government. In this paper, CPP and The King’s Fund outline what is needed now:

  1. For poverty measures in shared outcomes frameworks for ICSs including:
    1. Metrics to frame longer-term poverty reduction and prevention e.g. local Official Statistics on Children in Low Income Families
    2. Metrics to assess achievable medium term outcomes e.g. housing status and condition in communities ICS serves
    3. Locally determined metrics that are monitored by both the health and care system and their public and third sector partners
  2. Embedding poverty into ICSs’ population health strategies
  3. Collecting and sharing poverty data more systematically between partners, making use of ICPs

We hope that these opportunities are acted on by all those undertaking such a journey to help put poverty at the forefront of the new local and regional health systems.