Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Analysis

If social determinants of health are so important, shouldn’t we ask patients about them?

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4150 (Published 24 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4150

Rapid Response:

Re: If social determinants of health are so important, shouldn’t we ask patients about them? Occupation is still an important health determinant

Dear Editor

I support the other responses to this Analysis article. However occupation is also still an important health determinant.

Firstly it is used for the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC, rebased on the SOC 2020, https://www.ons.gov.uk/methodology/classificationsandstandards/standardo...). If the National Statistics occupational codes were included in GP computer systems, NS-SEC for every patient could be derived.

Secondly, the data could then be used to remind healthcare professionals of the risks of certain occupations, and to identify patients who may be at risk of certain exposures. A current example is the higher risk of "essential" workers of contracting COVID-19. It is possible to record occupation currently, but several classifications are availalble and most of the data is missing.

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 December 2020
Michael Soljak
Doctor
Imperial College London
Department of Primary Care & Public Health