Outline and Explain the Inequalities in Health and Illness According to Social Class
Outline and explain the inequalities in health and illness according to social class.This essay will explain the inequalities that occur in health and social care due to social class.It will show statistics of health and mortality rates and distinguish between different approaches to health.
It will show factors that can influence an individuals health such as class, society and individual choice. Inequalities in health are a long standing and well recognised part of modern society.
Within society the opportunity to live a healthy life free from illness is not evenly balanced between the classes. (Yuill,2010). To define what is meant by social class, Crompton (2008 ) page 95 said, “A social class is two or more orders of people who are ranked by society. Members of a class tend to marry within their own order, but the values of society permit them to marry up or down. A class system also provides that a child is born into the same class as their parents. ” There are two main scales that define class in society.
The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification Scale breaks society down into eight main classes. The Standard Occupational Classification (2000) breaks society into nine classes but has many subdivisions in between. To define what is meant by health varies widely between organisation’s but the most commonly used definition is one given by the World Health Organisation which says “ Health is a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing. ”(Tulchinsky, 2009, page 47).
Surrounding the issue of health there are two main ‘models’ which are used. The medical model is based around the absence of disease or disability. If an individual has no disease or disability they are thought of as being in good health. The medical model focuses on the treatment and cure of disease and not on the cause or prevention (Eldin, G,2000) . The social model, according to, Barkaway 2009, health is seen as partially attributed to the social circumstances of individuals. This can be in terms of their income, gender, education and status.
The social model also says that an individuals health is also effected by the economic, social, political and welfare policies of a society (Barkaway, 2009) The differences caused by health and social class can be seen as far back as 1843 when Edwin Chadwick published “The General Report on Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Great Britain”. In this h showed that the average age of death in Liverpool at the time was 36 for gentry and professionals but only 15 for labourers, mechanics and servants (Chadwick, 1843).
The reasons behind these differences between health and social class can be down to employment status. Particularly in earlier history when the lower classes where mainly employed in the manual industries such as the coal mines, shipyards and factories. These types of employment were known to cause massive health problems such as emphysema and asbestosis. “Poverty, poor housing and lack of health resources and provisions is a risk to the lower classes. ”(patient. co. uk, 2012) Before the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, being able to have access to a doctor was a luxury the lower classes could not afford.
Doctors and hospitals were only available privately so were only afforded by the upper classes. Some areas did have charity ran hospitals but these were unclean and treatment was slow. Poorer people almost always relied on, sometimes dangerous, herbal methods or back street doctors. Alongside the introduction of the NHS came the view that healthcare is a right and not something to be dispensed erratically by charity. (Rivett, no date) National statistics. Social Model and how it is trying to improve the health of the lower classes. Black report Inverse care law Parsons sick roll Foucaults policy