Social Determinants of Health – What Doctors Can Do
British Medical association BMA - October 2011
Available online PDF [28p.] at: http://bit.ly/uOx4Ib
“…………Doctors worldwide recognise the importance of health inequalities. Historically many considered the main reason to be lesser access to health care, and concentrated on improving access. They now know this is only part of the picture. Today they are increasingly aware of the social gradient and its impact, as well as the impact this should have on the targeting of care and ill health prevention.
They recognise that health inequalities are related to structural determinants such as age, income, education, occupation, gender, ethnicity and place of residence. Many feel unable to make effective changes to any of these for their patients and their communities and are often frustrated by their inability to make a difference. Such despondency is unnecessary as there is much that is already being done, and can be built on, by doctors and their teams. In
The magnitude of the social gradient in health is not fixed; it varies between countries and, indeed, within regions in
This paper will set out, very briefly, some of the evidence and examples of actions that doctors can take to affect the social determinants of health and reduce the social gradient. We hope that doctors will use the examples in this report to effect change themselves.
We recognise that not every doctor has the opportunity to change the social determinants of health throughout the life course of individual patients and have thus included other ways in which they can make a difference, as doctors working as community leaders…………”
What are the Social Determinants of Health?
Why should this be a concern of doctors?
Practising Holistic Medicine
The interaction of social factors
Unemployment and Poverty
Ill health prevention strategies
The NHS as an employer
What can doctors do? (including action grid to help inform activity)
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