Delivery in day(s): 3
HST5161 Public Healthcare Management Oz Assignments
Health systems is considered as one of the main concerns of the Australian government. This is due to the fact that health care is a very vital need of the people. This paper will discuss background information of Australian health care systems, the present strategies and nature that has been put in place by the government to improve and enhance health care in the country. The paper will also discuss the sociological theories that inform health care practice and delivery in Australia like conflict management, functionalism theory and symbolic interaction theory (Alderson, 1998). After critically discussing these theories, the paper will analyze and evaluate the behavior, the relationship and the interactions of healthcare individuals in Australia. Moreover, the paper will discuss critically the impacts of the social theories to the health care systems in the country. The paper will present an in-depth report on the numerous empirical research studies that have been conducted on the present condition and situation of the health care systems and service and attempt to provide prudent and judicious opinions on the means of enhancing and improving them. This paper will pinpoint and state how health professionals are required to apply and use the knowledges in to the Australian health systems (Hall, 2015). It should be noted that the provision of health in Australia is not on an equal and fair terms in Australia.
Australia has class and sociological order meaning that there are less fortunate members of the society who, due to their status in the society, are not able to acquire and access good and quality medication in the country. This is due to the cost of the medical care and the past arms ruling government or power who do not give such people assistance of any form. The question that this paper seeks to ask is whether these people are part of Australia?
Background of Australian Health Care System
The health care system in Australia has been hailed as one of the best in the world, however, recently, it has come under intense scrutiny due to a host of factors like the clamor to register improved health care results, inequities and the cost of health care in the country. Using the description of the World health Organization, health care systems entails all the services which are aimed at enhancing, maintaining and restoring the health status of people (WHO, 2014). Moreover, a good health care system should offer health care equally to everyone especially when they are in need. Even though the context and pattern of provision of health care varies from one country to another country, some basic and common features like robust funding, accessible data and information, available and skilled workforce and medical facilities should be available in all the health care systems.
The population of Australia has a relatively good health status, that is, the life expectancy in the country is about 81 years. This health status is considered as one of the highest globally, however, there are certain groups of people who have relatively poor health status like the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander people.
Healthcare system in Australia is paid for through tax if a person is a permanent resident of the country. however, the individual has to pay about 2% of his or her income to the Medicare which will fund healthcare system. On the other hand, private providers of healthcare system do not provide free, however, most of the government schemes which the government has put in place encourages the individuals to seek private insurance scheme (Gray, 1998). Medicare in the Australian healthcare system covers most of the key healthcare services entailing costs of GP, costs of hospitals as well as about 86% of the specialist’s costs.
Power and Hierarchy In Healthcare Systems
Power hierarchies usually create imbalances in the relationship between patient and the healthcare providers. Hierarchy and power are always exhibited when a healthcare provider assumes all the power in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient. This normally affect the outcomes of the health of individuals as individuals don’t have any input in the whole treatment process. In the patient-centred care approach, the gap between the patient and the healthcare provider is normally bridged.
Sociological Theories On Health Care Systems In Australia
Before in-depth analysis of sociological theories on health care systems, the paper will attempt to define health and health care in sociological perspective. Sociology always take an assumption that a well function community is dependent upon healthy citizens and control of illness and diseases. Talcott Parsons a sociologist came up with what is referred to as the sick role and came up with elements and components of the sick role; the person who is sick cannot be blamed or be held accountable because of his or her sickness, the sick person cannot be accountable for his or her normal duties, the sick person is not supposed to like his or her current role and the sick person is supposed to look for help in order to get out of his or her current role.
Sociological Theories And Health Care System
The Functionalism Theory
According to Parson (1951), this theory focuses on the effective and good health care to a society and he states that they are essential and vital for a normal community function. A society which is ill will not effectively perform their roles and when many individuals in a society are ill, the stability and the functionality of a society suffers. This, Parson related to premature deaths, which he said prevented people from wholly carrying out their duties, therefore, representing a poor return to the society for numerous costs of child care, birth and pregnancy. On the other hand, poor medical facilities and health care render a society dysfunctional, as sick individuals face higher risks of becoming healthy while healthy individuals face the risk of becoming ill. In order to consider a person sick, numerous conditions have to be met.
A person has to meet the four elements of sick role. If a person meets all the components of sick role, then such a person has to be treated and taken care of by their friends, families, their relatives as well as other people whom the person may know. Such a person will also be exempted from his or her societal obligations. In the functionalism theory, health and medical professionals also have their roles and responsibilities to play. The professionals have to test the patient to decide and come up with ways of treating the illness and eventually help him or her. It is important to note that there has to be good cooperation between the patient and physician whereby the patient must effectively answer the questions asked by the physician. Parson observed this relationship as hierarchical, that is, the client follows the medical instructions provide to him or her by the physician.
The theory of functionality has emphasized the significance of good health status of individuals in the society, however, theory has received much criticism for numerous reasons. The notion of sick role only applies to short term illness but not to the long-term illness. Another criticism that has been leveled against the theory is that it does consider the fact that social background of individuals can impact on their health and the quality medical care that they receive. Lastly the theory encourages the hierarchical stratum between the patient and the health care provider, yet currently, many health researchers and experts encourage person-centred care whereby there is a mutual cooperation between the patient and the health care provider.
The Conflict Theory
According to Weitz (2013), the conflict theory focuses on the unequal treatment in the quality of health care and health delivery. As I mentioned early in this paper, quality of health care and health greatly differs in many countries and this is also true in Australia. Inequalities in the society along ethnicity, race, gender and in social class are mirrored in their heal care as well as their health. Individuals who are less privileged in the society tend to fall sick easily as they encounter risk factors and once they become ill or sick, they normally do not have adequate medical care that help them to recover faster (Conrad and Kristin, 2010). For instance, the empirical evidence is clearly demonstrated in Australian society concerning health care. The theory has also critique physician efforts in their pursuit to control medicine practice as well as to define different social challenges as medical ones (Cockerham and Scambler, 2010). However, the inspiration for them has been considered being both negative and positive. On one hand, physicians believe that they are the most placed to handle health related problems while on the other hand, they believe that once they label every social problem as medical problem and monopolize their treatment, their financial status will automatically improve.
Conflict theory has faced some criticism over the years; for instance, alternative healthcare has evolved over the years. according to Whitehead and Kurz (2008), disorders which are related to eating has put criticism of the theory into perspective. Several girls and women having the challenges of eating disorder normally obtain help from psychologist, physician, psychiatrist or any other medical professional. Even though the care has helped many of the patients, the meaning and description of eating disorder as health-related problem offers a good income source to the professionals who handle and reveal its cultural roots the in the standards of beauty in the society for women (Fogler, 2009).
The Symbolic Interaction Theory
The theory of symbolic interaction focuses on the illness and health in the society. According to Buckser (2009), different mental and physical conditions are considered as having little constructive reality yet, they are considered as ill or healthy conditions when they are defined by members of society and the society itself. The theory focusses on relationship marketing among various people in the society (Shuheng, Xiaoxin, & Yingchun, 2018).
Health by Social and Economic Status in Australia
According to Barra (1998), Ximena de la Barra in 1998 stated that being poor should be considered as a health hazard, nevertheless, what is worse is being and staying in urban area. Her statement highlighted and pinpointed the global problem of poverty and urban areas; however, it demonstrates a very glaring fact and association between health and poverty in Australia and how the conflict theory is demonstrated in the country. Inhabitants who live in poor urban areas like the Aboriginal and the Strait Islander people, have greater rates and incidences of hospitalization and lower recorded health quality as compared to other members of the society who reside in wealthy or average urban areas (Baker, 2014). Growing up and living in poorer areas is normally associated with reduced life expectancy, mental illness, central nervous system, heart related disease, stroke as well as injury. Empirically, it has been established health care do account for an eighth of the medical outcomes while the rest is determined by the social and economic factors like education, income and living standards of a community (FitzGerald et al, 2009). This case scenario highlights the conflict theory of inequality between the rich and the poor in Australia.
Sociological Perspective of Australian Healthcare System
Sociological is considered significant to healthcare professional. The three social theories are vital in explaining Australian healthcare system. For instance, the conflict theory explains the social inequalities in Australia between the Aboriginal and Strait Islander people and the non-Aboriginal and Torres and Strait Islander population. Inequalities in healthcare in Australia between the Torres and Strait Islander people and the their non-Aboriginal and Torres and Islander people is considered and recorded by the World Health Organization as the largest globally. For instance, the life expectancy between of the Aboriginal and Torres and Strait Islander population was about 10 years between 2011-2013 as compared to their non-Aboriginal and Torres and Island population which was recorded as 9.5 years.
Social determinants theories determine and acknowledges that health inequality is influenced by numerous interlinked social factors. Power and hierarchy in the healthcare systems illustrates conflict theory especially in the inequality in the healthcare systems. Capitalism which highly prevalent in the country has been considered as a concern in the theory of conflict. Private clinics usually consider themselves as commercial entities focusing on making profits in the country before putting the lives of the people at a priority (Boyd & Sheen, 2014). The poor members of the society, therefore, finds it more difficult in accessing private healthcare services since they are relatively expensive. Moreover, most of the people in the country live far away from the hospitals and clinics, thus, making it difficult for some members of the society to easily aces healthcare services.
The symbolic interaction theory is also applicable to the healthcare system in Australia. This theory focuses and emphasizes on the illness as a social context instead of medical condition. For instance, there are some misconceptions negative labels attached to some medical conditions disability or mental illness leading to stigma creation. As a health practitioner, comprehending and acknowledging labelling process via symbolic interaction theory usually helps them toward reducing stigma experienced by the patients. This can be related to the Australian healthcare system whereby mental health patients are always victimized and stigmatized by the people in the society. What the government should do is to develop and enhance person-centred care so and people with lived experiences on mental health cases also known as the peer groups should be empowered to help reduce stigmatization of the mental health cases (Leighton, 2004; Sartorius, 2007; Kilian & Williamson, 2018).
The functionalism theory is normally concerned with the health and healthcare in the society and it helps the public to understand the role and responsibility of the healthcare professionals. Therefore, good medical care and healthcare are very vital for the efficient running of the society. When people fall sick, they usually take the sick role.
Various people always use and adhere to the different sociological theories in healthcare as well as the relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient. However, each of the theories have their advantages as well as their criticism. Therefore, they should be applied in totality and combination with each other.
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