Saturday, 11 June 2011

Poor Kids

A Kid in Manchester will have a life expectancy of seven years less than that of a child in Barnet. Before the FM started medicine she did not give health inequality or the gap between rich and poor much though – she has given more thought to it since.

So why does it matter if a child grows up below the poverty line? Because there are higher chances of infections, anaemia, middle ear infection amongst many, many more.

Currently the FM is watching the BBC documentary, Poor Kids. Watching it is heartbreaking, currently at the bit where the girl in the flat in Glasgow where she shows us the damp. When clerking children in hospital it is important to do a proper social history, including to ask about any problems with damp at home.

The fact that 85% of children who live in damp suffer from breathing problems has popped onto my screen.

Let us assume the FM becomes a paediatrician. Will she do any good? Is there anything the FM could do about what she is watching? Or should she have gone into politics and tried to decrease the gap between rich and poor?


  1. Great post - good questions. Time for us all to work on the answers.

  2. FM should consider public health I think? Clinical medicine can only go so far in tacking inequalities & social determinants!

  3. I had a conversation at work about Kevin Carter (who is most famous for the Vulture picture here -

    Everyone bar me made the argument the picture was wrong as "once i'd had kids, I'd understand".

    I'm not sure why having my own kids means I care more for a stranger.

    Doing nothing is wrong, but doing something is everything, and to be put bluntly - a doctor will cure people because they are qualified to do so. A politician might only be able to try.

  4. Politicians blame doctors for these differences but the politicians know they are responsible.