Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

What are health authorities doing about the health problems caused by unemployment?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 25 April 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:1076

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. C Harris,
  2. R Smith


    Unemployment is over three million in Britain, and unemployment is known to be associated with poor health. It has been suggested that health authorities should produce a comprehensive response to the health problems caused by unemployment, and a survey was undertaken to find how many had done so. All the regional and district health authorities in England, the health boards of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and the family practitioner committees of England and Wales were asked by letter what they were doing to respond to the health problems of unemployment. A list of suggestions of what they might be doing was enclosed. The overall response rate was 77% (255/331), and 50% (127/255) of the respondents were doing something--33.3% (3/9) of the regional health authorities, 64% (101/158) of the district health authorities and health boards, and 26% (23/88) of the family practitioner committees. The paper describes what they were doing. A relation was sought between the level of unemployment in an area and the extent of the response, and a significant association was found. Half of Britain's health authorities are now responding in some way to the health problems associated with unemployment.