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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


YAZLLE ROCHA, Juan Stuardo; SIMOES, Breno José Guanais  and  GUEDES, Geraldo Luiz Moreira. Hospital assistance as an indicator of social inequality. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1997, vol.31, n.5, pp.479-487. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To test a model for the study of inequalities in hospitalizations in the city of Ribeirão Preto (SP), understanding them to be due both to the social position of inpatients and also to health care policies in Brazil. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Using a hospital information system in existence for more than 25 years in the city of Ribeirão Preto - SP, 56.293 hospitalizations of municipal inhabitants occurring in some of the 12 general hospitals in 1993, were studied. Using the Brazilian occupancy classification for mortality, these inpatients were grouped on 6 occupational levels, as in the British classification: professional, intermediate, qualified non manual, qualified manual, partially qualified and unqualified. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Two-thirds of the inpatients had no place in the i.e. did not belong to the economically active population - and consisted of housewives, pensioners, children and students - and one third had some economic activity and thus belonged to the economically the active population. A close association was found between social strata and the classification of the hospital financing system into private, private group clinic and public health system patients. There were differences in hospital parameters as well as in morbidity patterns between these groups. The inequalities relating to average age, average age of hospital deaths, mean lengths of stay, hospital mortality, re-internment and frequency of diseases are discussed.This model allows the social position of the inpatient to be estimated using the hospital financing system, including also those patients with no economic activity, which covers the majority of the population. Social mechanisms created to compensate for inequalities in the welfare state do not cancel out the social differences.

Keywords : Hospitalization; Social class; Occupations.

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