Our Research

Our Research

Our research brings together a number of datasets that track changes at the neighbourhood level in health and the determinants of health to investigate what has worked and what could be done differently. This includes anonymised national datasets (e.g Hospital admissions data, prescribing data, census data, crime and welfare datasets) and data generated through the activities of the ARC NWC including the Household Health Survey that has been commissioned by the CLAHRC NWC in selected neighbourhoods across the North West Coast.
The record level data is only used to develop aggregate indicators at the Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) or GP practice (GPP) level (or higher geographies). These aggregate indicators are then used to investigate the impact on health care utilisation of risk factors, policies, and interventions.

Specifically, they are used for the following objectives:

  1. To investigate the impact across England of socioeconomic changes, national health and welfare policy changes, environmental changes and infectious disease trends on healthcare utilisation and whether there are neighbourhood level characteristics that modify these effects. Analysis investigates inequalities between neighbourhoods in the consequences of these adverse trends and events.
  2. To evaluate the impact of area based local authority and NHS, economic, environmental, social, governance and service redesign activities on health outcomes and demand for health and social care services.
  3. To develop predictive models of the factors driving adverse health trends and increases in demand for health services at the neighbourhood level, that can then be used by local agencies to better target resources at the root causes of ill-health and health service demand and the neighbourhoods most affected.
  4. To develop new approaches for monitoring progress on health inequalities at the neighbourhood level and involving the public in using data to influence local services and policies – supporting Open Data initiatives to promote transparency and accountability.


Communities in Control
The Communities in Control study is a long term public health research programme that began in 2014. It aims to build evidence about approaches that empower local people to have more control and involvement in decisions taken about the places where they live, and the consequences of this for improving health and reducing health inequalities. The focus of the research is the place-based programme Big Local, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and managed by Local Trust. Read more

Evaluating Air quality improvement actions across the North West Coast Read more

The impact of contrasting investment strategies at the local level Read more

The impact of local government budget changes on population health and inequalities Read more

Publications 2021:

Daras K, Alexiou A, Rose TC, et al. How does vulnerability to COVID-19 vary between communities in England? Developing a Small Area Vulnerability Index (SAVI). J Epidemiology & Community Health 2021;:jech-2020-215227. DOI:10.1136/jech-2020-215227

Publications 2020:

Bennett, Davara Lee, Kate E. Mason, Daniela K. Schlüter, S. Wickham, Eric TC Lai, Alexandros Alexiou, Ben Barr, and David Taylor-Robinson. ‘Trends in Inequalities in Children Looked After in England between 2004 and 2019: A Local Area Ecological Analysis’. BMJ Open 10, no. 11 (1 November 2020): e041774. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041774.

Clarissa Giebel, Sarah Rodgers, Ben Barr, Brendan Collins, Asan Akpan, Justine Shenton, Elizabeth Fuller, and Mark Gabbay. ‘Does Social Support Affect Older Adults’ General Practitioner Attendance Rates? Findings from the North West Coast Household Health Survey’. Clinical Gerontologist 0, no. 0 (27 June 2020): 1–11.  DOI:10.1080/07317115.2020.1783044.

Rose, Tanith C., Kate Mason, Andy Pennington, Philip McHale, Iain Buchan, David C. Taylor-Robinson, and Ben Barr. ‘Inequalities in COVID19 Mortality Related to Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Deprivation’. MedRxiv, 5 May 2020, 2020.04.25.20079491.  DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.25.20079491.

Saini, Pooja, Tanith Rose, Jennifer Downing, Bashir Matata, Samantha Pilsworth, Allan Pemberton, Terence Comerford, et al. ‘Impact of Community-Based Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Service, a Multidisciplinary Intervention in an Area of High Deprivation: A Longitudinal Matched Controlled Study’. BMJ Open 10, no. 5 (1 May 2020): e032931.  DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032931.

Taylor-Robinson, David, Ben Barr, and Margaret Whitehead. ‘Stalling Life Expectancy and Rising Inequalities in England’. Lancet (London, England) 394, no. 10216 (21 2020): 2238–39. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32610-8.

Bambra C, Munford L, Alexandros A, et al. COVID-19 and the Northern Powerhouse: Tackling inequalities for health and productivity. 2020. [Report]

Giebel C, McIntyre JC, Alfirevic A, et al. The longitudinal NIHR ARC North West Coast Household Health Survey: exploring health inequalities in disadvantaged communities. BMC Public Health 2020;20:1–11. DOI:10.1186/s12889-020-09346-5

Saini P, McIntyre J, Corcoran R, et al. Predictors of emergency department and GP use among patients with mental health conditions: a public health survey. British Journal of General Practice 2020;70:e1–8. DOI:10.3399/bjgp19x707093

Giebel C, Corcoran R, Goodall M, et al. Do people living in disadvantaged circumstances receive different mental health treatments than those from less disadvantaged backgrounds? BMC Public Health 2020;20:1–10. DOI:10.1186/s12889-020-08820-4

Alfirevic A, Downing J, Daras K, et al. Has the introduction of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in England increased emergency admissions for bleeding conditions? A longitudinal ecological study. BMJ Open 2020;10:e033357. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033357

Publications 2019:

Taylor-Robinson, David, Eric T C Lai, Sophie Wickham, Tanith Rose, Paul Norman, Clare Bambra, Margaret Whitehead, and Ben Barr. ‘Assessing the Impact of Rising Child Poverty on the Unprecedented Rise in Infant Mortality in England, 2000–2017: Time Trend Analysis’. BMJ Open 9, no. 10 (August 2019): e029424. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029424.

Robinson, Tomos, Heather Brown, Paul D. Norman, Lorna K. Fraser, Ben Barr, and Clare Bambra. ‘The Impact of New Labour’s English Health Inequalities Strategy on Geographical Inequalities in Infant Mortality: A Time-Trend Analysis’. J Epidemiol Community Health 73, no. 6 (1 June 2019): 564–68. DOI:10.1136/jech-2018-211679.

Giebel C, McIntyre JC, Daras K, et al. What are the social predictors of accident and emergency attendance in disadvantaged neighbourhoods? Results from a cross-sectional household health survey in the north west of England. BMJ open 2019;9:e022820. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022820

Downing J, Rose T, Saini P, et al. Impact of a community-based cardiovascular disease service intervention in a highly deprived area. Heart 2019. DOI:10.1136/heartjnl-2019-315047

Daras K, Green MA, Davies A, et al. Open data on health-related neighbourhood features in Great Britain. Scientific data 2019;6:1–10. DOI:10.1038/s41597-019-0114-6

Publications 2018:

Currie, Jonny, Maria Guzman Castillo, Victor Adekanmbi, Ben Barr, and Martin O’Flaherty. ‘Evaluating Effects of Recent Changes in NHS Resource Allocation Policy on Inequalities in Amenable Mortality in England, 2007–2014: Time-Series Analysis’. J Epidemiol Community Health, 23 November 2018, jech-2018-211141. DOI:10.1136/jech-2018-211141.

Higgerson, J., E. Halliday, A. Ortiz-Nunez, and B. Barr. ‘The Impact of Free Access to Swimming Pools on Children’s Participation in Swimming. A Comparative Regression Discontinuity Study’. Journal of Public Health, 2018. DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fdy079.

Plessis, R. du, B. S. Milton, and B. Barr. ‘Devolution and the Regional Health Divide: A Longitudinal Ecological Study of 14 Countries in Europe’. Journal of Public Health, 2018. DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fdy014.

Publications 2017:

Higgerson, James, Emma Halliday, Aurora Ortiz-Nunez, Richard Brown, and Ben Barr. ‘Impact of Free Access to Leisure Facilities and Community Outreach on Inequalities in Physical Activity: A Quasi-Experimental Study’. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 12 January 2018. DOI: 10.1136/jech-2017-209882.

Barr, Ben, James Higgerson, and Margaret Whitehead. ‘Investigating the Impact of the English Health Inequalities Strategy: Time Trend Analysis’. BMJ 358 (26 July 2017). DOI:10.1136/bmj.j3310.

Publications 2016:

Green MA, Daras K, Davies A, et al. Developing an openly accessible multi-dimensional small area index of ‘Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards’ for Great Britain, 2016. Health & Place 2018;54:11–9. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.08.019