SCIE media releases 2010
Bridging the gap: social care can impact on health inequality
06 July 2010
Research shows that social interventions impact on health disadvantage… but to impact on health inequality, they must be adequately and sustainably resourced.SCIE Research briefing 33: The contribution of social work and social care to the reduction of health inequalities: four case studies
The first summary of research considering the role of social care in reducing health inequalities in the UK has been released by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).
The much debated Marmot Review released earlier this year highlighted that social factors cause health inequalities, but made little reference to social care. Through the analysis of four case studies, the SCIE summary shows that social care is fundamental to driving down inequality because it improves the health of some of the most disadvantaged in our society. However, it concludes that in order to be truly effective the social care sector must be adequately and sustainably resourced.
David Walden, Director of Adult Services at SCIE, explains:
Social work is an integral part of the health system. Carers work to improve the wellbeing of those who are most at risk from poor health, and naturally this means they are best placed to impact on health disadvantage. It seems an obvious point to make, but this briefing is the first step towards demonstrating the true impact of social work on health equality in the UK.
Key messages of the research summary include:
- inequalities in UK health outcomes are widening
- the Marmot Review* makes few references to social care, but it does concede that social care recipients are likely to be among the most disadvantaged of populations
- the health of most social care service users is already damaged and for many this is a central factor in their involvement with social care services
- social care interventions can reduce health disadvantage
- the achievement of health benefits and healthcare cost savings requires financial and research investment in the social care sector
- researchers evaluating social care approaches need to include health changes in the outcomes they measure
SCIE acknowledges the support of the Special Interest Group of JUCSWEC Research Committee, which initiated this work.
Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Marmot Review - Fair society, healthy lives (2010) - identified the following key themes as significant to the task of reducing health inequalities
- reducing material inequalities
- enhancing potential
- empowerment: enhancing social and community capital
- sustainability of neighbourhoods, transport and food systems
- quality and flexibility of work and security of employment
- protecting vulnerable groups
- public sector performance and responsibility
- strengthening the approach to evidence-based policy
- Link: SCIE Research briefing 33: The contribution of social work and social care to the reduction of health inequalities: four case studies