The fifth annual report by Dr Harry Burns, published last week, said that the approach taken so far had ‘failed to accelerate the health status of those at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum’.
He called for a system in which people were supported to help themselves and develop their psychological resilience.
Dr Alan McDevitt, deputy chairman of the GPC Scotland agreed that the system was not narrowing the gap between rich and poor quickly enough.
Some people were more resilient than others because their upbringing had taught them how to handle stress and difficulties, he said.
‘A lot of it comes down to the resources people have to deal with adversity,’ he said ‘It’s personal resources in your own head as well as in the real world.’
General practice is already moving towards trying to support people to help themselves, he said.
‘We’re trying to be in partnership with the patient. It’s not that the doctor can fix your life but we can be advisors and help them find their way through it.’
He added: ‘Nobody should be condemned to a life of ill health because of where they live or their family’s background.’