Irish Medical Organisation

Reducing inequalities is best for long term investment - 12th April

12th April 2012

Reducing health inequalities is the best long-term investment that any Government can make on behalf of its citizens - IMO

IMO Launch Position Paper on Health inequalities at the AGM[today 12/04/2012]

The Irish Medical Organisation highlighted social, economic and environmental factors affecting the health of their patients, factors recognised by all IMO doctors, whether working in a hospital, general practice, or public or community health setting in a newly published Position Paper on Health Inequalities.

Addressing members at an AGM Seminar titled “Bridging the Divide:Addressing Inequalities” newly appointed IMO President, Dr. Paul McKeown said; “A wide range of factors such as, poverty, inequality, social exclusion, employment, income, education, housing conditions, transport access to health care, lifestyle and stress all impact significantly on an individual’s health and wellbeing”.

He said; “Evidence shows that lower socio-economic groups have relatively high mortality rates, higher levels of ill health and fewer resources to adopt healthier lifestyles when compared to better-off sections of society.”

“Life expectancy at birth for males living in the most deprived areas is 4 years less than for males living in most affluent areas, while life expectancy for females living in the most deprived areas is nearly 3 years less than that for females living in the most affluent areas.”

Reducing inequalities in health is primarily a matter of fairness and social justice, as people in poorer socio economic groups are more likely to be ill and to die prematurely.  Reducing health inequalities not only improves the health of the population but will, by extension, lead to improvements in the productive capacity of the country and long-term savings to health and social welfare spending.  It is estimated that inequalities in health account for 20% of health care costs and 15% of social security cost in the EU.

Dr.McKeown concluded; “The IMO believes that reducing health inequalities through the reduction in societal inequalities is the best long-term investment that any Government can make on behalf of its citizens.”

Click here to view IMO Position Paper on Health Inequalities


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