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Health And Illness In Sociology Essay

901 words - 4 pages

I will be looking at the effects of acute and chronic illness on society, particularly in Britain, and the differences between public and private healthcare in their treatment of these problems. Great Britain has a relatively high level of public expenditure on healthcare as a percentage of its GDP. In terms of its healthcare structure it is one of the most public systems as it has a National Health Service, thus offering free healthcare to all residents. The system differs greatly from the more market driven and private healthcare structure of the US. Because of the provision of free healthcare, the vast majority of people in Britain use public healthcare as opposed to the expensive private ...view middle of the document...

This is because the cost of treating chronically ill patients is extremely high as the average healthcare cost of a person with a chronic illness to the government is 5 times greater than for someone without a chronic condition. The NHS cannot afford to treat the rising number of patients to a high standard. The impact of these chronic illnesses combined with poor treatment by the NHS is clear, as they are responsible for about 7 out of every 10 deaths in the UK. Worryingly for society, The rate of obesity has increased significantly over the past few decades and this increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Private healthcare in the UK is much more successful at treating these illnesses as they are more specialized and well funded. However, this is not an option for many due to the high costs. This has very damaging implications for society as about 25% of people with chronic diseases have some degree of activity limitation which causes difficulty in completing everyday tasks and can restrict them from working or attending school. Those with the functionalist perspective of health and illness would be particularly worried by the effects of chronic illness on society as they see the importance of good health in terms of its role in helping society to run smoothly. Increasing rates of chronic illness combined with continuing medical advancements means that people are living longer yet a larger amount are incapacitated by the effects of chronic illnesses. Therefore, the government is having to spend more on caring for these elderly sufferers and thus taking money away from other areas of society. These sufferers are no longer able to work and contribute to society in an...

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