Health inequality and policy intervention

Introduction

Health is considered as a complete physical, social and mental wellbeing of the individuals where it is possible to lead a healthy life without any critical disease. There are several determinants of health, which are such as economic and social, physical; genetics, and behaviour, environmental and medical care (Islam, 2019). These are important to identify the health condition of the individuals. In order to improve the health and wellbeing among the individuals, it is necessary to provide them appropriate access to health and social care in the society so that they can overcome the existing issues and lead a normal life (Eikemo et al., 2017). Through this study, it is possible to demonstrate the social issue of health inequality, where the individuals face difficulties to access the health and social care service fairly. The study also provides a scope to identify he determinants of health as well as the policy intervention, which are crucial to provide the scope of accessing the quality health and social care services to stay healthily.

Social determinants of health

There are several social determinants of health which helps to identify the reasons behind the health condition and resent mental condition of the individuals. For the critical determinants of health, there is the issue of health inequalities in the society for which the individuals face several issues to access a good quality care and services. The differences in health outcomes due to the social, economic and environmental diversity, there is worst experience of poor health condition and shorter lives (Owusu-Addo, Renzaho and Smith, 2018). The disadvantaged social groups such as poor, racial or ethnic minority groups in the society as well as women are experiencing social disadvantages that further makes the health condition worse than others where there is also increasing risk factors in managing health condition across the social groups (Eikemo et al., 2017). Hence, the ethnicity and race are one of the major social determinants of health, where the individual from the minority groups are treating differently and there is lack of fairness and transparency to get equal treatment and support from the health and social care service providers (Owusu-Addo, Renzaho and Smith, 2018).

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It further deteriorates the living condition and wellbeing of the individuals from the ethnic minority groups across the social communities (Donkin et al., 2018). Due to unfair and unjust activities in the health and social care industry, the ethnic minority groups are suffering from getting adequate access of health and quality care to overcome their health issues and stay a healthy living. In addition to this, the social exclusion, working status and unemployment are also considered as another major determinant of social economic factors, which affect the health condition of the individuals. Employment status and social inclusion are also hereby important to identify the person identity and provide access to good quality health and social care (Brydsten, Hammarström and San Sebastian, 2018). Hence, as per the social determinants of health, the major factors affecting the health condition are such as gender, ethnicity and racism, economic class and social inclusion, unemployment and education. These factors are important for the individuals to access the best quality health and social care service as well as improve their standard of living over the period of time (Donkin et al., 2018).

Discussing health inequalities

Health inequality in the society is one of the major issues, where the individuals face difficulties to get healthy lifestyle and access to health and social care. Due to diversity in racism, ethnicity, gender and cultural differences, the individuals are discriminated in the society for getting access of the quality health and social care services (Brydsten, Hammarström and San Sebastian, 2018). In the recent era of globalisation, corona virus is worsening the health and wellbeing of the individuals and the consequences are serious for which the death rate is increasing rapidly. It also raises issues of health inequalities, where the BAME communities or black and minority ethnic people are suffering from getting access of right medications, vaccine and good quality care to overcome their health issues (Owusu-Addo, Renzaho and Smith, 2018). In England, the people and health care author are suffering from ethnicity and racism in the society or which the BAME communities are not getting suitable access of the best quality care and treatment in such a pandemic situation of COVID 19 (Bambra et al., 2020).

The male life expectancy is 79 years and the female life expectancy is 83 years. Moreover, the neighbour’s areas with higher level of income have greater access of the best quality health and social care services as compared to the derived areas with low income earnings. The higher income group can lead disability free life expectancy (Brydsten, Hammarström and San Sebastian, 2018). The pole in the lower social class are addicted to smoking and alcohol, and they are suffering from secured employment which further reduces their health condition and the access of health care services in the society also becomes lower (Owusu-Addo, Renzaho and Smith, 2018). As per the findings, the white people in England has high percentage of receiving the first vaccination, where the Asian and BAME communities are not getting vaccines and the rate of the white people getting vaccinated is twice as compared to the white and BAME communities in England. It clearly informs that there exists the ethnicity and racism in the society for which the BMAE communities are treated unfairly in the society (Bambra et al., 2020).

Policy intervention to the health inequality

There are several policy interventions, through which the issue of health inequalities must be mitigated in the society so that each people can be treated equally in getting proper access to the public services (Brydsten, Hammarström and San Sebastian, 2018). The health and social care is the individual rights to get the best quality treatment, but due to ethnic minority groups, racism and other cultural diversity, the BAME communities are derived of getting the best quality care and treatment in the society in such a recent pandemic situation (Marmot, 2017). The legislation Health and Social Care Act 2012 has been implemented in the health and social carte sector where the Health bodies including the Department of Health, Public Health England, Clinical Commissioning Groups, and NHS England are trying to collaborate with each other for mitigating the issue of health inequalities in the society.

The policy interventions are fruitful to serve the best quality care by mitigating such issue of inequality and in this regard the Equality Act 2010 and non-discrimination policies are supporting continuously to protect the rights of the individuals (Marmot, 2017). Human rights Act 1998 is also effective to protect the individuals and provide them the access of public services in the country. Creating new opportunities in England to retain the derived people in the society by enhancing communication and cooperation is beneficial to mitigate the issue of health in equality (Reibling et al., 2017). Poverty eradication measures and providing the safe environment to stay healthily are also effective policy intervention of the UK government and health care authorities to protect and promote healthy living among the individuals irrespective of their cultural background, social and economic background.

Public health intervention

Healthy Lives, Healthy People strategy for Public Health in England (2010) responds to the challenges of health inequality in the society, which further support the ethnic minority groups mainly the BAME communities in England to get equal access of health and social care services (Reibling et al., 2017). The policy interventions such as Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation (1999), Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier (2004) and Tackling Health Inequalities: A Programme for Action (2003) is effective to maximise the standard of living of the individuals by providing equal scope and fair treatment (Marmot, 2017). Public Health England also contributes to reducing the health inequities by integrating health equity considerations into policy and programs, as well as engaging with communities to support their efforts to address inequities, collaborating with other sectors to address inequities, and identifying the reduction of health inequities through inclusion of the individuals in the health and social care.

Conclusion and recommendations

Health inequality is hereby a serious issue that must be mitigated soon for protecting the livelihood of the individuals in the society. Due to ethnicity and racism in the society, the BAME communities are not treated equally as white people in England, where they feel deprived of getting the best quality care. In order to mitigate the health inequalities, the above mentioned legislations and rules are fruitful to develop fair practice in health and social care. The suggested recommendations would be,

The NHS and PHE must collaborate with each other and develop partnership working practice with the NGOs and social working groups for identifying the derived people and vulnerable individuals in the society, so that they are protected under quality care and supervisions.

The NHS and PHE also need to provide equal opportunity to all the people in England for getting vaccinated in such a pandemic situation, irrespective of the cultural diversity among the individuals. The BAME communities must be treated equally with the best quality care and services.

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Creating opportunities and incentives for the backward classes sin the society and providing them safe environment are also essential for the PHE to promote health wellbeing across the country, where the vulnerable individuals can get supported with adequate resources and best quality care to improve their standard of living in the society.

Reference List

Bambra, C., Riordan, R., Ford, J. and Matthews, F., 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and health inequalities. J Epidemiol Community Health, 74(11), pp.964-968.

Brydsten, A., Hammarström, A. and San Sebastian, M., 2018. Health inequalities between employed and unemployed in northern Sweden: a decomposition analysis of social determinants for mental health. International journal for equity in health, 17(1), pp.1-11.

Donkin, A., Goldblatt, P., Allen, J., Nathanson, V. and Marmot, M., 2018. Global action on the social determinants of health. BMJ global health, 3(Suppl 1), p.e000603.

Eikemo, T.A., Bambra, C., Huijts, T. and Fitzgerald, R., 2017. The first pan-European sociological health inequalities survey of the general population: the European Social Survey rotating module on the social determinants of health. European Sociological Review, 33(1), pp.137-153.

Islam, M.M., 2019. Social determinants of health and related inequalities: confusion and implications. Frontiers in public health, 7, p.11.

Marmot, M., 2017. Social justice, epidemiology and health inequalities. European journal of epidemiology, 32(7), pp.537-546.

Owusu-Addo, E., Renzaho, A.M. and Smith, B.J., 2018. The impact of cash transfers on social determinants of health and health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review. Health policy and planning, 33(5), pp.675-696.

Reibling, N., Beckfield, J., Huijts, T., Schmidt-Catran, A., Thomson, K.H. and Wendt, C., 2017. Depressed during the depression: has the economic crisis affected mental health inequalities in Europe? Findings from the European Social Survey (2014) special module on the determinants of health. The European Journal of Public Health, 27(suppl_1), pp.47-54.


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