Effective longer-term strategic planning as part of a regional development process is about aligning local needs with clear growth goals through a continuous process that is: intelligent, innovative, integrated and implementable.
Health equity is the absence of systematic differences in health and its determinants between groups of people at different levels of social advantage.
Socioeconomic disadvantage translates into a disadvantage in health of economically marginalised regions and social groups. Worse health among those with a lower socioeconomic status leads to labour productivity losses, unemployment, increased demands for health care and higher uptake of social security benefits.
The HealthEquity-2020 project (HE2020) was to assist EU regions and subregions to develop evidence-based action plans that prioritised how to reduce health inequalities locally. This then informed identifying opportunities for using European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in the current and future programming periods to address action plan priorities.
A starting point for funding and implementing action plans is to ensure that they do not exist in isolation. Beyond this there are several interdependent issues that need attention: (i) genuine engagement with key stakeholders in prioritising needs; (ii) use the Health in All Policies agenda as a means to an end and not as an end in itself; (iii) nesting action plan priorities within more powerful national and/or regional development processes.
This Policy Brief draws on examples from the HE2020 regional experiences, and other case examples of regional planning, to provide an overview and brief analyses of key issues and to formulate key messages with the focus on how to use integrated planning for leveraging stakeholder commitments to tackle health inequalities.
More information about the Health Equity 2020 project is available at: www.healthequity2020.eu.