A healthy nation they say is a wealthy nation. Healthcare is important to the society because people get ill, accidents and emergencies do arise and the hospitals are needed to diagnose, treat and manage different types of ailments and diseases. Many of people’s aspirations and desires cannot be met without longer, healthier, happy lives. The healthcare industry is divided into several areas in order to meet the health needs of individuals and the population at large. All over the world, the healthcare industry would continue to thrive and grow as long as man exists hence forming an enormous part of any country’s economy.
Healthcare is defined as the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and management of disease, illness, injury, and the preservation of physical and mental well-being in humans. Healthcare services are delivered by medical practitioners and allied health professionals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care).
The National Health Service (NHS) is the provider of healthcare to all permanent residents in England. The services provided by the NHS are free at the point of use and paid for from general taxation. Although, there are charges associated with other aspects of healthcare such as eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and many other aspects of personal care. The NHS is guided by series of policies as outlined by the Department of Health from time to time. All Health policy in England and the rest of the UK rests on the National Health Service Act of 1946 which came into effect on 5th July 1948, launched by Minister of Health, Aneurin Bevan during the opening of Park Hospital in Manchester.
In this write-up, I would be analysing healthcare policy, provision and funding in England. I would also assess and evaluate the impact that culture and the society has on healthcare as well as the people’s attitude towards healthcare.
The role of public health and health promotion in the provision of healthcare services can not be over emphasized. I would also assess national and international socio-political issues in the promotion of public health, an analysis of the impact of international campaigns and national policies on the demand for healthcare would be done. I would also evaluate the role of health promotion in determining healthcare service demand in England.
Contemporary issues affecting healthcare in England would be identified and an evaluation of their impact on national and international policy as well as practical responses to these issues would be done.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health policy as decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society. The aim of health care policies is to define a vision for the future which in-turn helps to establish targets and points of reference for the short and medium term. It also outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups; and it builds consensus and informs people.
Policy governs and informs the planning and implementation of both strategies and projects, and provides a framework for the professional development of the workforce (Porter and Coles, 2011). However, polices can take on different forms and may be communicated in different ways.
Culture is a way of life; it is the way we do things. It is defined as the way of life of a particular society or group of people; it includes the patterns of thought, beliefs, behaviour, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, language, art, music, as well as literature (Webster’s New World Encyclopedia, 1992).
Culture as defined by dictionary.com is the behaviours and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. It is a group’s shared set of beliefs, norms, and values.
The cultural differences and way of life of people have a great impact on the way they assess their health and well-being as well as their attitude towards healthcare. It affects their attitude and understanding of the cause of an illness and how to manage them as well as the consequences of medication and medical treatments. This also has an effect on people’s expectations on healthcare delivery.
There are diverse groups of people living in England as a result of migration and they are diverse in the fact that they are of different age, sex, gender, race, ethnic background, colour, religion, beliefs as well as cultural background. It is important for health and social care practitioners to understand and cope with all these differences as it affects the way people react to healthcare provision.
In England, every resident have access to free healthcare provided by the NHS. However, people can still go to private hospitals if they wish to but they have to pay for the medical services they receive by themselves or by their health insurer.
For religious reasons people also have different beliefs and how they perceive healthcare delivery and sometimes how they react to medical practitioners. For instance, Muslim women do not allow male medical practitioners to attend to them especially when it has to do with the exposure of their private parts. Jehovah’s witnesses do not consent to the use of blood transfusion.
Using the PEST analysis, I will be assessing how several factors have influenced people’s attitude towards healthcare in England.
Political factors: a new government with new agenda and mission to fulfil their manifestos pass new laws about health and health reforms. With the government of the day wanting to cut cost; so many benefits of the citizens has been drastically reduced. These include a cut in energy allowance for the elderly, cut in healthcare allowance and so on.
Economic factors: the global economic downturn has made the government of the day to cut cost and introduce policies and agenda which has made people loss job and become unemployed. How well the government of the day react to these issues will determine the extent to which the health and well-being of its entire populations are protected. During these times, some people may become depressed, and become mentally ill.
Social factors (inequalities, discrimination): for instance, when people become depressed and mentally ill during recession, they become discriminated upon by colleagues, friends and sometimes close family members. The loss of a job too makes people to socialise less often and prefer to live in isolation most times and this can have a great impact on their health.
Technological advancement: this has drastically affected healthcare delivery in recent times. Diagnosis and treatment of diseases with the use of technological equipment have gone a long way in making things easier and faster for healthcare professionals and the patients as well. Treatment can be done faster and accurately too. For instance, the use of radiotherapy in the treatment and control of cancer. However, such treatments are sometimes rejected by the patient due because of the after effects it will have on them. A recent example is Sally Roberts who resisted radiotherapy being done on her son who has brain tumor (the guardian news UK).
Environmental factors: a change in the weather e.g. snow, heavy rainfall and flooding also affect people’s attitude and spending towards healthcare. Many become very ill, catching a cold, having flu and fever in cold temperatures, making them to visit their local G.Ps more frequently, and spending more on medication as well. The government tend to spend more and healthcare professionals tend to be more engaged during these periods. Emergency services work round the clock saving people.