School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

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Newcastle University urges a societal wide responsibility for good health at House of Commons event

At an event at the House of Commons last night (Thursday 26th February), academics from Newcastle University, in partnership with the Smith Institute and Regional Studies Association, launched a series of papers aiming to address the question: what is the relationship between health and the economy?

The National Health Service is facing increased pressure from budget cuts, an ageing population and increasingly complex long-term conditions. The coalition government has introduced widespread restructuring of the NHS, including devolved health spending – as illustrated by this week’s announcement that Greater Manchester is to become the first English region to receive these powers. In response, questions have been asked about how the health and economic needs of the UK can be balanced. Academics from Newcastle University have examined these issues, and call for a shift from the current narrow focus on the cost of health care to a broader understanding of the multiple linkages between health and economics in the report published today.

Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Professor of Town Planning at Newcastle University and co-editor of the report, entitled Joining the Dots, says:

“This series of papers looks at the huge issue of health inequality in the UK and why it must be addressed. This goes beyond the debate over the cost of healthcare, instead arguing for the economic benefits improved health will bring to the country and how work that is decently paid contributes to health and well-being”.

Co-editor Professor Rose Gilroy, Professor of Ageing, Policy and Planning at Newcastle University added:

“We know that health and wealth often go hand in hand. Poor health costs all of us money. We know that wealthier nations have healthier populations that are able to make choices that support good health. We are therefore urging policymakers to look at the role of planning in promoting and well-being for people of all ages and how multiple local agencies are struggling to create working relationships to deliver the opportunities provided by recent legislative reform s for the benefit of both local health and the local economy.”

They conclude:

“Too often we intervene too late and forget that health starts where we live, learn, work and play. This research shows that the key to good health is to build preventative services in communities, helping us to take care of our families, our schools, our workplaces and our playgrounds and parks. In considering how we order national and local spending priorities we must understand the need to make pro-health choices”.

The launch event was attended by, amongst others, Lord Phil Hunt who later wrote a post about the issue on the Labour Lords blog.

The report, Joining the Dots, can be viewed  Joiningthedots

Newcastle University's School of Architecture Planning and Landscape is a European centre of excellence for research and teaching on the future of cities, governing places, public engagement and democracy, and urban design.  It was rated the 4th most powerful school in the UK in the latest government survey REF2014.




published on: 27 February 2015