A Sick Difference – What to Do about the Inequality?

Sidste nyt

Presently, DR runs a series of documentaries about social inequality within health, showing the ever larger difference between rich and poor in Denmark. The poor people gets more ill and see their GP more than the rich people. The gulf between those who can take care of themselves and those who need help is getting even wider. And politicians with even more furried brows state that the country is in want of money and that we have to prioritise.

The DR documentary will hardly bring to light new and epochal knowledge. In Denmark, we do have a large and extensive knowledge of the health of vulnerable citizens. For instance, we know that  medically examined homeless as an average have 13 different diagnoses. We also know that homeless men have a lifetime which is 20 years shorter than men with a residence. The ill health of homeless is an undignified waste of human life and cost-intensive to the health authorities. The health authorities alone “own” the consequences of the social inequality within health. When designating inequality in health socially inequality, it is to emphasise that the inequality is both socially determined and unfair and it is possible to do something about  it.  However, this requires that we remove the ownership of the consequences of social inequality from the health authorities and implicate all other policy areas in the ownership of the problem solving. No more silo thinking. We need the labour market, the social area, the educational area and several more to unite their forces in developing and implementing initiatives to improve the public health and reduce the social inequality within health.  Of course, this must be done in cooperation with the local forces who in several other areas have shown ability and capacity of innovation and involvement of citizens in connection with solving social issues.

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