Moving beyond band-aid solutions to renewing the social contract

Kwame McKenzie

The international covenant of human and cultural rights says that we have the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and psychological health. We need to reorganise if we are to recognise that right. For people with psycho-social issues and especially people from black and minority ethnic communities it is time we move away from band-aid solutions linked to simply improving health services because that will not deliver our rights. It is time to renew the social contract and for government to refocus so it can meet our aspirations. It is the duty of Government to ensure that we thrive, not just survive. In a high-income country thriving should be the basic standard of living. To do this we need a coherent template for society that understands the impacts of social factors on health. But we also need to reframe the social determinants as the positive blue prints for the possibilities for human development and longevity. We need to use our knowledge to ensure that the bottom 90% of earners have the same health as the top 10%. It is time that our health, humanities and policy researchers realized this – they need to develop as strong an evidence base on building health as there is on fighting illness. Its time for a fundamental shift in what we do if we are to make real change happen.