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A healthy start to the citizens’ tribunal

Ealing Citizens’ Tribunal, an independent body established to follow up on the recommendations of the Ealing Race Equality Commission (EREC) held its first public meeting last week, with a focus on tackling health inequalities.

The meeting was hosted by Denise Charles, chair of the Citizens’ Tribunal, and the chair of the Tribunal’s sub-committee for health, Angela McKenzie. Fellow members of that sub-committee Dr. Munir Abbasi and Dr Suprana Sukumara were also present, alongside a panel of public health professionals, including Ealing Council’s director of public health, Anna Bryden, and the director of NHS North West London, Neha Unadkat.

Councillor Josh Blacker, cabinet member for healthy lives attended, as did Councillor Aysha Raza, cabinet member for tackling inequalities.

The leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Peter Mason commented: “ I want to thank tribunal members for their dedication and hard work, and for providing us with their expertise and lived experiences. We know that the council can’t deliver all the demands of the commission alone, and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership to achieve deep and lasting cultural change. Health inequalities remain a significant barrier to Ealing residents achieving their potential, and so it’s important that the tribunal discussed this topic.”

The event took place online on Tuesday evening and was attended by over 40 people who had the opportunity to share their views and put their questions to the panel.

Attendees were updated on progress of addressing the health inequalities as identified in the EREC’s report and the work of the citizens tribunal in holding Ealing Council and its partners to account for delivering the actions to improve health outcomes. The three demands to address include:

  1. Representation: A clear strategic plan for wider representation of ethnic minorities within health services, and leadership roles.
  2. Lessons from the pandemic: The stark inequalities revealed by the pandemic, and to ensure these lessons are learnt and acted upon.
  3. Review funding: Local authorities and health agencies to review funding priorities for ethnic minority communities, particularly black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, who have been disproportionately left behind in health structures and services.

Tribunal Chair Denise Charles thanked all the panel members for attending and specifically the tribunal members for the time they have spent speaking and meeting with the NHS, public health partners and public health in Ealing, she said: “It has been an insightful evening, and important for there to be a place where people can come to engage, and it is up to all of us to participate and to make things better and fairer and more equal for everybody.

“The process is now in place to benefit everyone and has started, and it is up to us all to continue the good work.”

Councillor Josh Blacker said: “Addressing health inequalities is one of our top priorities, and we will continue to work with the tribunal to review our approach to health funding for those communities who have been historically marginalised and underrepresented, and to improve health outcomes for those communities.

“This is just the beginning. The tribunal is and will continue to be a space where people can come together to have sometimes difficult conversations, ensuring that the voice of our residents remains central to everything we do as a council.”

The tribunal aims to hear peoples’ views and feedback, as they continue their assessment of the five further priorities of Participation and Democracy, Housing, Policing, Income and Employment, and Education.

To take part in this important conversation, look out for dates to be announced on the next meetings of the Citizens’ Tribunal, find out more on the do something good website.

You can view the full Citizens’ Tribunal here.

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