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Unequal Ageing: Responding to health inequalities in later life


Unequal Ageing: Responding to health inequalities in later life

  • 19/02/2020
  • Health & Social Care Research, Ageing, Big Data & Digital Health, Carers, Healthy living & wellbeing, Social Care
  • Charlie Wilkinson

Thank you all for coming along to our first Research and Innovation matters event of 2020. Unequal Ageing: Responding to health inequalities in later life was a fantastic way to start the year off and all of us in the FMS Engagement team cannot thank you enough for attending.

We had a huge 70 attendees come along to this event, completely maximising the capacity of our workshop space. Although this at times made the room feel full, it is great that so many people came along to learn about health inequalities and unequal ageing.

Thank you for bearing with us as we dealt with some AV and IT issues during the event. I have read all of your feedback, and this has influenced the planning of future events. You should notice at the next events: A better-organised lunch, a different style for the human library, reserved seating for table facilitators, louder microphones, and a fixed hearing loop. We are always aiming to improve the events and your feedback helps us do that.

A reminder that the next Research and Innovation matters event will be on the 23rd March 2020 and will be exploring organ transplantation. Registration is now live and you can click here to book a place. To be the first to hear about these events you should join VOICE to see all the opportunities including these events, and others. To register, go to

A reminder of the day

Professor Thomas Scharf ([email protected] / @TomScharfNcl) gave a fascinating talk on inequalities in later life, and how walking speed might be able to tell us something about those inequalities. While Dr Andrew Kingston ([email protected] / @Dr_AKingston) talked about using data to understand how health outcomes unfold over time. If you would like to watch these talks again, recordings of the morning sessions are available online. You can watch Tom Scharf's here and and Andrew Kingston's here.

This led us into our first workshop of the day exploring the order in which difficulty with daily activities is experienced, and where you thought interventions should be provided for support.  There was no clear answer to this from the workshop; different groups suggested that quality of life is affected when you have difficulty using steps, walking 400 yards, transferring from the toilet, and having a full body wash. What was clear from the groups is that it is difficult to state just one, and that these issues depend on the level of support you have available.

A message from Andrew:

"I would like to extend my gratitude for attending the workshop and moreover for your thorough engagement in the Insights Exercise.  As a researcher in ageing, I make it my mission to construct my research agenda in such a way that it can be translated to help older people. The insight garnered from the workshop will have a number of benefits. Firstly, it will help me craft future research questions that are embedded in the lived experience of growing older, derived from the real experience of real people.  Secondly, it will help me focus my research in such a way that it targets the things that impact the ability to live independently the most. Already, there are some emerging findings from the group work that have altered my thoughts about how I can steer my research in the future, so that it has real benefit to you and the people who will age into our older populations (like me!).  Of course, as this research unfolds I should be delighted to circulate these findings to you.  Once again, thank you - the co-creation of research questions to understand ageing, that has real benefit, could not be done without you."  

After lunch, we continued with a great session from Sarah Sowden ([email protected] / @SarahLSowden) exploring hospital admissions, and how it is more likely that you are to have an avoidable stay in hospital if you are poor. This was followed by Suzanne Moffatt ([email protected] / @suzannemoffatt) talking about the benefits of social prescriptions, and how these can help address inequalities.  Unfortunately, due to technical issues, the afternoon sessions have not been recorded, but you can look over the slides from the day.

Suzanne then led the final workshop of the day exploring social prescriptions, using case studies to put you in the position of a link worker. It is difficult to summarise everything you captured on your tables. Some interesting insights came from this workshop, which are now being looked over by Suzanne and her team. Some common themes which came out of the groups is that generally you think social prescribing could help to support under the right conditions and that it could be useful (but generally, there is some uncertainty about the name).

A message from Suzanne:

"The valuable insights about social prescribing gathered from the Insights Workshop will inform the ongoing National Institute of Health Research evaluation, and also form the basis for the development of further research questions about social prescribing.  Particular issues that were raised by the group include the suitability of the name, ‘social prescribing’, the dangers of over-medicalisation and implications of the large scale roll out on voluntary sector capacity."

We then ended the day with an interesting panel discussion, which, quite frankly, could have gone on for hours with the number of interesting comments and questions being made.

Thank you again for coming along to the first research and innovation matters event of 2020. We hope to see you again at more events we are putting on throughout the year. 

Charlie Wilkinson
Engagement Support Coordinator



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Tina Fry

Tina Fry

19th February 2020

Please could you add the link to the recording of the morning sessions? (It appears as a short underscore only!)

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VOICE Head Office

VOICE Head Office

20th February 2020

Sorry Tina, the links are now there!



19th February 2020

It was a great workshop with many valuable informations. The case study was a brilliant idea to share and discuss.

Thank you