People in deprived areas more likely to die earlier, says GP

Social Democrats conference hears about ‘caring’ society and ‘careless’ Government

The Social Democrats  conference heard that those most likely to die and those most in need of healthcare were the least likely to have access to health services. Photograph: Getty Images

The Social Democrats conference heard that those most likely to die and those most in need of healthcare were the least likely to have access to health services. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The socially-deprived have poorer health than those living in affluent areas, a Dublin GP told the Social Democrats national conference.

Dr David Gibney, who is based in Ballymun, told delegates at the conference health debate that those living in deprived areas had lower life expectancies.

“Not only are they more likely to die prematurely, they also have higher rates of chronic conditions.’’

Dr Gibney said people would think that resources were directed more to those areas. In fact, those areas were experiencing the “inverse care law’’, which meant those most likely to die and those most in need of healthcare, were the least likely to have access to health services. “That is quite shocking.’’

Dr Gibney told delegates that delays in access to healthcare compounded existing problems in socially-deprived areas.

In a debate on building a new Ireland, Dublin South Central delegate Tara Deacy claimed 63 per cent of lone parents were living in deprivation. The figure had doubled in a decade. A third of students were at risk of living in poverty.

Ms Deacy said the Republic had a caring society but an uncaring Government, with grants for carers, youth workers and community groups cut.

“Essentially, what we have been dealing with is a careless Government that has introduced policies making it impossible for people to engage and participate.’’

Niall ÓTuathail from Galway West told the conference the Social Democrats should aim to be in government and make the party’s policies a reality. “I really would urge everyone at this conference to have that ambition.’’

He said the party should make the argument that not only was social democracy affordable, but it could also drive the economy.

Social policies

Sarah Jane Hennelly from Limerick said the State should look at how other countries devised successful social policies and implement them here.

Gary Gannon from Dublin Central said the challenges facing Irish society were not insurmountable. “We built social housing in the past and we can do it again.’’

The party unveiled a 12-point plan to make the rental sector more secure and affordable, including the introduction of a renters’ charter to protect tenants.

The party called for rent caps and a minimum 90-day notice to leave rented accommodation.