DOCTORS SHOULD ASK ‘WHAT WORK DO YOU DO?’

Asking what job a person does is ‘critical’ to addressing social inequalities in health, a new academic paper has concluded. ‘With work now being a recognised social determinant of health, use of work and employment information, including industry and occupation, is a critical component of core public health surveillance systems,’ stated researchers led by Karla Armenti of the University of New Hampshire.

‘Collection of these variables is important both for routine surveillance activities and crisis responses.’ Owen Tudor, deputy general secretary of the global union confederation ITUC, said the paper ‘is important given the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recognition that a safe and healthy workplace is a fundamental right for workers. Crucial for the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well. Doctors need to ask people routinely 'what work do you do?'.’

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