Research Article

Tackling inequalities in health: the Australian experience.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 20 March 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:783
  1. M Whitehead,
  2. K Judge,
  3. D J Hunter,
  4. R Maxwell,
  5. M A Scheuer
  1. Old School, Ash Magna, Whitchurch, Shropshire.


    Federal and state governments in Australia have embarked on a series of national initiatives which show a firm commitment to tackling social inequalities in health. The development of national goals and targets for health, for example, covers social and environmental conditions and sets differential targets for specific social groups with very poor health status. In a complementary initiative, a wide ranging analysis of the health care system--the National Health Strategy--has as one of its main objectives to improve the equitable impact of the health system. Where problems of access to and quality of services have been exposed, policies have been devised to deal with them. The exceptionally poor health of the Aboriginal community has elicited cross party support for action. Resources have been allocated to implement the National Aboriginal Health Strategy: to improve living and working conditions, education, and employment opportunities. Britain can glean much from the Australian experience.