BMJ: The pollution of health discourse and the need for effective counter-framing

21 May, 2022

Article in this week's British Medical Journal

"The UK Health Foundation argues that to better communicate on the social determinants of health, we need to change our framing. Framing describes what we say about an issue or concept and how we say it, which in turn affects people’s understanding, reactions, feelings, and actions. For example, framing health as primarily a consequence of individual choice - as is often the case in public debate - deflects attention from ways that health is strongly shaped by other forces, such as the wealth of our parents, or the availability of education to us growing up.

"Such engrained individualistic perspectives on health have consequences for the policies that the public and policy-makers support, and for political accountability, or lack thereof, when health declines. Framing helps explain why we celebrate and fund a new cancer therapy that extends life by several months, while gaps in life expectancy of nearly 20 years between different neighbourhoods in the same city, are afforded scant attention. How we frame problems then, can be “a matter of life and death,” as the Health Foundation describes. However, in order to change how issues are framed, we must........."

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT