Inverse care law
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The Inverse care law is the principle that the availability of good medical or social care tends to vary inversely with the need of the population served. Proposed by Julian Tudor Hart in 1971, the term has since been widely adopted.
The law states that: "The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served. This ... operates more completely where medical care is most exposed to market forces, and less so where such exposure is reduced." (Hart, 1971)
Inverse laws are commonplace, and arise because of inequality and a lack of social justice. In most areas of life (politics of envy aside) most of us are reasonably happy with this state of affairs; the fact that the rich have more clothes than they strictly 'need' is not too great a cause for concern. However, it is unsettling to many that an inverse law applies to health, offending a sense of fairness — a view which forms the basis for the existence of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
- Tudor Hart, J. (1971). "The Inverse Care Law". The Lancet 297: 405–412. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(71)92410-X.
- Watt, G. (2002). "The inverse care law today". The Lancet 360: 252–254. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09466-7.
- A Reappraisal of the Inverse Care Law Cooper K., 2010
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