This can be as a result of a number of factors and often in combination:
Improving the public’s health is about population health care, making sure that services are inclusive and responsive to all sectors of the population. It necessitates breaking down barriers for people to access health and social care.
Those who are most vulnerable either though poor housing, education or access to financial support often have the greatest needs in terms of health care. The evidence tells us that in general they won’t live as long and have much poorer health outcomes.
The reasons for people being excluded are numerous and often complex. It can be as a result of one of more of various factors, for example; unemployment; financial hardship; youth or old age; ill health (physical or mental); substance abuse or dependency including alcohol and drugs; discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, ethnic origin, religion, belief, creed, sexual orientation or gender re-assignment; poor educational or skills attainment; relationship and family breakdown; poor housing (that is housing that does not meet basic habitable standards); crime (either as a victim of crime or as an offender rehabilitating into society).
The report from the Charity Commission, The promotion of social inclusion, sets out the various factors which contribute to people becoming excluded and mechanisms to support greater integration and inclusion.
The term ‘hidden populations’ is often used to describe groups of people who don’t seek out care. Although people themselves may sometimes wish to remain hidden, it is more often that people find it hard knowing where the services they need are or just getting to them or feel unwelcome when they try to access them. It is far too easy to rely on those who seek out health care or attend clinics, providing services for those who ask for it? Rather than searching for health needs and providing services for those who are harder to reach.
Equality and inclusion within health and social care is vital to ensuring people's differences are valued and that people are treated equally and supported to take part in whatever they wish to do but also that services support people in all areas to be able to look after themselves and prevent issues from becoming worse.
RCN and non-RCN resources
Learning disabilities and mental health
Prisons and custody