Rural areas, deprivation and health


Sir, – Your article “People in deprived areas are more likely to die early, GP claims” (January 27th) aptly describes the well-documented “inverse care law” as first described by Tudor Hart in 1971.

He postulated the principle “that the availability of good medical or social care tends to vary inversely with the need of the population it serves”.

What should be considered, but is often overlooked, is the fact that the majority of Ireland’s deprivation is hidden in rural areas.

While the focus is often placed on inner-city areas that have traditionally been perceived to have the highest levels of social deprivation, it should be noted that many parts of rural Ireland have equally if not higher levels of social deprivation than their urban counterparts (as is evident in the Pobal HP Deprivation Index) but this is often overlooked. Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – The appalling consequences of poverty on health and mortality rates should not be overlooked, dismissed or wished away. They demand political action. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.