The contribution of social work and social care to the reduction of health inequalities: four case studies

E. Coren, W. Iredale, Paul Bywaters, D. Rutter, J. Robinson

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    •Inequalities in UK health outcomes are widening. Although the Marmot Review makes few references to social work and social care, it concedes that social care recipients are likely to be among the most disadvantaged of populations. •There is no systematic body of research evidence that focuses on whether social work and social care has a direct effect on the distribution of health outcomes at the individual or population level. •However, the health of most users of social care services is already damaged and for many this is a central factor in their involvement with social care services. Social work and care interventions targeted at social care clients, and at the general population, can reduce health disadvantage across the life course. •To illustrate this, we chose interventions from across the life course. Studies referred to all measured impact on health. They are Sure Start/Children’s Centres; the placement of looked-after children with kinship carers; support for parents with intellectual disabilities, and extra care housing for older people at risk of entering care. Research shows that social interventions impact on health disadvantage in individuals and populations, but to impact on health inequality, they must be adequately and sustainably resourced. •The key message of this briefing is that social work and social care practitioners work with some of the most disadvantaged groups in our society, and this offers many opportunities to improve the lifetime health of those most at risk. The achievement of health benefits and healthcare cost savings requires financial and research investment in the social care sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

    Publication series

    NameSCIE Research Briefing


    • health inequality
    • social work
    • social care


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