This paper presents arguments for recognizing and tackling health inequalities as a major new challenge for social work. Four underpinning points provide the building blocks for this case, that health inequalities are a matter of social justice and human rights, that the causes of health inequalities are primarily social, that poverty and poor health are common characteristics of social work service users and, that, therefore, health inequalities are a vital issue for social workers in all settings. A number of implications for social work practice and policy are outlined. The paper concludes that addressing health inequalities implies that social work has to become more actively engaged with critical global social, economic, environmental and political issues.
Bibliographical noteThis is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version:
Bywaters, P. (2009) Tackling inequalities in health: a global challenge for social work. British Journal of Social Work, volume 39 (2): 353-367
is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm096
- social work