Economic crisis and health. the role of health care professionals

Background: The economic downturn unfolded in the recent years is expected to produce adverse social and health effects. Several studies support the fact that such financial depressions have a direct impact on the overall health, on the public spending directed to the health care system, on the quality of the provided services and on the restructure of the roles and functions of the health care personnel.Aims: The purpose of the present study was to review data on the factors that economic crisis affect population’s health and health care professional’s role. The objectives were to investigate how economic changes can affect early mortality and morbidity rates, suicide tendencies, mental disorders and to highlight the emerging problems that health care professionals are faced with, in both the workplace environment and the educational field. Methodology: A literature review of national and international studies was performed in databases of PubMed and Scopus using keywords such as economic crisis, health implications, public health, unemployment, mental health, healthcare (nursing) education. Results: A large number of studies indicate a strong correlation between unemployment or low income level and increased mortality rates, suicide tendencies, mental disorders, changing eating habits and over?consumption of tobacco and alcohol.Conclusions: Economic crises can be addressed as an opportunity for health reform policies, for minimizing the inequalities in health services access, for providing more cost?effective and efficient services and for identifying actions that can help to mitigate the negative impact of financial shortages. Emphasis should be given in the improvement of the primary health care provision, in the better performance of health promotion programs, in minimizing health inequalities and diminish the rates of hospitalisation.

Author(s): Notara Venetia

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