Social determinants of health and health inequalities: what role for general practice?

Health Promot J Austr. 2006 Dec;17(3):264-5. doi: 10.1071/he06264.


This paper argues that general practice is potentially an important social determinant of health and health inequalities. The way it is influential is consistent with models of causal pathways in the way social and societal factors influence health. General practice clinical care can be thought of as a material resource. Evidence exists at many levels that this resource is inequitably distributed. But encounters in general practice are profoundly social processes, embedded in wider society. Debating and reflecting on the values underpinning relations between GP and patient may help challenge and illuminate wider inequitable processes in society that sustain inequalities in health.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Family Practice* / economics
  • Family Practice* / standards
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Socioeconomic Factors*