Ask the Expert: assessing and addressing the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities in the UK

This Ask the Expert event, held in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) explored the impact of Coronavirus restrictions on health inequalities in the UK.

The pandemic has highlighted the pre-existing health inequalities in the UK, with COVID-19 mortality rates in the most deprived areas more than double the mortality rates of the least deprived areas. However, concerns have been raised by experts about not only the direct health impact of COVID-19, but the potential wider health effects of the pandemic. There is evidence to suggest that less participation in physical activity, increased regular consumption of alcohol and stretched essential services may lead to an increase in conditions that can be indirectly attributed to the pandemic.  These effects are more likely to be seen in those most affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic.

As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, what will the long-term impact on health inequalities be? What can policymakers do to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on those most affected by health inequalities?


Professor Vittal Katikireddi, Professor of Public Health & Health Inequalities, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow

Dr. Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive, The Health Foundation

Joan Saddler OBE, Director of Partnerships and Equality, NHS Confederation

Scott Corfe, Research Director, Social Market Foundation (Chair)


Our Ask the Expert series, in association with UK Research and Innovation, brings academic research on public policy into the heart of Westminster.

Follow the Ask the Expert series on Twitter: @SMFthinktank @UKRI_News #SMFAsk