Social care and health inequalities

Someone living in the affluent London suburb of Kensington and Chelsea is much more likely to live a long and disability-free life than their counterpart who lives in Blackpool or in a deprived area of Manchester. These ‘extra’ 10 years of life are a consequence of the social conditions in which they each live: poverty, disability, damp or overcrowded housing, a poor diet all have a negative impact upon their health and wellbeing. These social inequalities cause health inequalities. By addressing the social conditions of people’s lives, social workers and social care workers make a key contribution to reducing health inequalities and improving social outcomes among the communities in which they work. This web resource aims to introduce the concepts of health inequalities and provide practical examples of the ways in which all of social work practice contributes to tackling health inequalities. It has been developed by a group of social work academics and practitioners on behalf of the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network. We hope that you will contribute examples of good practice and thus help to raise the profile of social work in this important policy and practice development.

The Marmot Review 'Fair society, healthy lives' (2010) identified six key themes as significant to the task of reducing health inequalities. This resource provides examples of the contribution that social care and social work make to these important policy objectives.

To coincide with the publication of the Marmot Review, SCIE released a media briefing which highlighted the lack of reference to social care in the review. These pages are intended to address this knowledge gap.