Published 28 March 2023

The stark health disparities that exist between different groups across the country have been well documented in recent years. However, the role of research in tackling these disparities has often been overlooked.

The APPG on Medical Research has published a report that makes the case for medical research as a key tool for change to reduce health disparities.

The report, which urges a shift in priorities for research funding to give a new focus to diversity and inclusion, claims that research is a vital but under-utilised tool in the fight to address health inequalities in the UK. It comes at the conclusion of a year-long inquiry conducted by the APPG which received responses from a range of healthcare bodies and professionals, research organisations, patient representatives with lived experience, policy experts and researchers.

The APPG recommends actions in three key areas:

    • Research funding: a government-led, overarching, accountable strategy prioritising research to address health disparities is needed.
    • Inclusion in clinical research and data: a greater diversity of voices should be involved in all stages and areas of research. This should be promoted through guidance and incentivisation.
    • Implementing research evidence: NHS England and local Integrated Care Systems should play a larger role in reducing barriers to getting research findings into policy and practice.

Read the report

Nisha Tailor, Director of External Affairs at AMRC (the Association of Medical Research Charities) who worked on the inquiry said: “By examining the root causes of these disparities, medical research can inform policy changes, clinical practice guidelines and community-based interventions aimed at improving healthcare access and quality, reducing health disparities, and promoting health equity. This can lead to better health outcomes for all populations, regardless of their background or circumstances.”

Chris Green MP, Chair of APPG on Medical Research said “As a nation, the pressing need to deal with the stark health disparities that exist between different communities across the country grows stronger. The gaps in health outcomes and life expectancy between our towns, cities, and rural areas, or between people of different socioeconomic, gender, ethnic and other backgrounds, are abundantly clear. There is much the UK’s vibrant research sector, and the NHS can do to face this health burden.”