In this regard, its mission is only just beginning. This weekend’s investigation by The Yorkshire Post demonstrates the extent to which this region is being held back by inequalities and injustices which are allied to under-investment.
And in the week when the scale of the North-South health divide became clear, and revealed how life expectancy rates had ‘slowed dramatically’ since 2010 in the most deprived areas, it shows the extent to which social policy reform is crucial to the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.
It is not right that this region’s leading hospitals, universities and other academic institutions have to make do with a fraction of the money that the ‘golden triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge enjoy for health innovation and research.
A disserve to the people of North who would directly benefit from advances in medicine, it is also an insult to the world-leading surgeons, academics and researchers whose work, and potential, is being stymied by this disparity.
As such, it is even more important that this region speaks with one voice – as senior university and NHS leaders here are now doing on the back of the Power Up The North initiative – and make the best possible case for fair funding.
And, given the latest financial estimates suggest that poor health accounts for one third of the productivity gap between the North and the rest of the UK, at a cost of £13.2bn a year to the Treasury, the social, economic and moral case for extra investment is so compelling that Ministers must acknowledge it if they’re remotely serious about improving the health of all.