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      How do children’s hospitals address health inequalities: a grey literature scoping review


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          Health inequalities are systematic differences in health between people, which are avoidable and unfair. Globally, more political strategies are required to address health inequalities, which have increased since the global SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, with a disproportionate impact on children. This scoping review aimed to identify and collate information on how hospitals around the world that deliver care to children have addressed health inequalities.


          Scoping review focused solely on grey literature.

          Eligibility criteria for selecting studies

          Following Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines, a four-step approach to identifying literature was adopted.

          Data sources

          Overton, OpenGrey, OpenMD, Trip Database, DuckDuckGo, Google, targeted websites and children’s hospital websites were searched on March 2023 for items published since 2010.

          Data extraction and synthesis

          Retrieved items were screened against clear inclusion and exclusion criteria before data were extracted by two independent reviewers using a data extraction tool. Studies were tabulated by a hospital. A meta-analysis was not conducted due to the varied nature of studies and approaches.


          Our study identified 26 approaches to reduction of health inequalities, from 17 children’s hospitals. Approaches were categorised based on their size and scope. Seven approaches were defined as macro, including hospital-wide inequality strategies. Ten approaches were classed as meso, including the establishment of new departments and research centres. Micro approaches (n=9) included one-off projects or interventions offered to specific groups/services. Almost half of the reported approaches did not discuss the evaluation of impact.


          Children’s hospitals provide a suitable location to conduct public health interventions. This scoping review provides examples of approaches on three scales delivered at hospitals across high-income countries. Hospitals with the most comprehensive and extensive range of approaches employ dedicated staff within the hospital and community. This review indicates the value of recruitment of both public health-trained staff and culturally similar staff to deliver community-based interventions.

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          Most cited references32

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          Guidance for conducting systematic scoping reviews.

          Reviews of primary research are becoming more common as evidence-based practice gains recognition as the benchmark for care, and the number of, and access to, primary research sources has grown. One of the newer review types is the 'scoping review'. In general, scoping reviews are commonly used for 'reconnaissance' - to clarify working definitions and conceptual boundaries of a topic or field. Scoping reviews are therefore particularly useful when a body of literature has not yet been comprehensively reviewed, or exhibits a complex or heterogeneous nature not amenable to a more precise systematic review of the evidence. While scoping reviews may be conducted to determine the value and probable scope of a full systematic review, they may also be undertaken as exercises in and of themselves to summarize and disseminate research findings, to identify research gaps, and to make recommendations for the future research. This article briefly introduces the reader to scoping reviews, how they are different to systematic reviews, and why they might be conducted. The methodology and guidance for the conduct of systematic scoping reviews outlined below was developed by members of the Joanna Briggs Institute and members of five Joanna Briggs Collaborating Centres.
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            Poverty, Inequality & COVID-19: The Forgotten Vulnerable

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              Inequality and the health-care system in the USA.

              Widening economic inequality in the USA has been accompanied by increasing disparities in health outcomes. The life expectancy of the wealthiest Americans now exceeds that of the poorest by 10-15 years. This report, part of a Series on health and inequality in the USA, focuses on how the health-care system, which could reduce income-based disparities in health, instead often exacerbates them. Other articles in this Series address population health inequalities, and the health effects of racism, mass incarceration, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Poor Americans have worse access to care than do wealthy Americans, partly because many remain uninsured despite coverage expansions since 2010 due to the ACA. For individuals with private insurance, rising premiums and cost sharing have undermined wage gains and driven many households into debt and even bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the share of health-care resources devoted to care of the wealthy has risen. Additional reforms that move forward, rather than backward, from the ACA are sorely needed to mitigate health and health-care inequalities and reduce the financial burdens of medical care borne by non-wealthy Americans.

                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                3 January 2024
                : 14
                : 1
                : e079744
                [1 ]departmentLancaster Medical School , Ringgold_4396Lancaster University , Lancaster, UK
                [2 ]Ringgold_6718Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust , Prescot, UK
                [3 ]Ringgold_59706Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary , Dumfries, UK
                [4 ]Ringgold_4593Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust , Liverpool, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Professor Rachel Isba; rachel.isba@ 123456lancaster.ac.uk
                Author information
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                : 10 September 2023
                : 18 December 2023
                Funded by: Children's Hospitals Alliance;
                Award ID: SCH5628
                Public Health
                Original research
                Custom metadata

                health equity,paediatrics,public health
                health equity, paediatrics, public health


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