Public Health: Health System In UK

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The United Kingdom is located off the northwest part of Europe, and is consist of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The total population as of 2016 was 65,789,000 and the total gross national income per capita as of 2013 was $35.760. People continue to live longer notably Women with a life expectancy of 80.5years and the men 75.8 years. In addition, it is envisaged that by the year 2030, about 1 in 5 people in the United Kingdom countries will be aged 65 or over. However, United Kingdom is likely to have more years of unhealthy life than their neighbouring European countries as a result of living longer. (www.who.int/countries/gbr)

According to World Health Organisation report on United Kingdom health profile in 2018, The main noncommunicable diseases affecting the people are cardiovascular disease, influenza, mental health, cancer and disease of the digestive system with the risk factors such as smoking, poor diet, diabetes, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, ageing, habits and behaviour as well as the rising of adult and child obesity. These noncommunicable diseases accounted for 89% of all deaths. However, this essay will focus on Cancer and cardiovascular disease. These two groups diseases together are said to be accounted for over 50% or two-thirds of all death, with cancer representing 28% and 25% representing cardiovascular (world Health Organisation 2018), (Gary 2001) and (Al-Ajmi et al 2018). The social group most affected by these two diseases are low- and middle-income people in the United Kingdom. Another study led by Steel (2016) in comparison with the noncommunicable disease among the four United Kingdom countries in 2016 showed that cardiovascular disease singles out death that occurs before average death age was significantly higher in Scotland than it is England. He goes on to argues that the sum of years lost life (YLL) by cardiovascular disease alone remains higher compared with other top ten diseases that can cause death in the United Kingdom.in addition, Office of National Statistics (2010d) cited in Boyle (2011) stated that, lung, colorectal, breast and prostate together said to be accounted for 45% all death from cancer. However, a study led by Hart et al (2001), (Skolnik….) argues that, cancer on the other hand, has many different types which include lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, liver and cervical cancer with risks factors also vary due to its different types. For example, risk factors of lung and oesophageal cancers are tobacco, whilst others are associated with infection agent such as hepatitis B virus. The authors goes on to argue that low-manual men workers and low women manual workers lived in Scotland in the deprived area (Renfrew/Paisley) had lung cancer mortality rates than non-manual men and women workers. This means that people with low income and middle income turns to smoke cheap and high-volume tobacco than people with high income, therefore, they are most affected by lung cancer.

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Health system can be define as putting all the resources both material and human resources, institutions, management as well as finances together to deliver health services to the population(Skolnik).The United Kingdom National Health Service which turns 70 recently is said to be one the greatest achievement in the country as far as history is concerned Duncan and Jowit (2018).The United Kingdom provides free healthcare to all those residents in the country at the point of need through the National Healthcare System (NHS) (REF). Before the birth of National Health Service (NHS) in 1946, only wealthy people were able to afford healthcare and the poor can only get free health Care through Charity or teaching hospitals (REF). In Victorian Era, there was outbreaks of typhoid, cholera, influenza, Tuberculosis and smallpox which as results killed many people. London became polluted because of bad sanitation. Edwin Chadwicks then published a report on the sanitation condition notably emphasising on the link between disease, poverty and low life expectancy. His findings prompted the then Government to recognise the need of public health approach, and this, as a result, brought the birth of public health. Another key person who was a big influenced to initiate National Health Insurance Act in 1911 was David Lloyd George. He proposed that small amount was to be deducted from employee’s wage and in return they receive free healthcare or treatment (ref). However, during Second World War in 1942, William Beverage wrote a report entitled “Social Insurance and Allied Services” to help the population as a reward for their lost and sacrificed during the War the report identifies five “Giant Evils”: Squalor, Ignorance, Want, Idleness and Disease (Beverage 1942). The government acted upon the Beverage report by initiating some polices to deal with those five “Giant Evils”. The government-built houses with flushing to toilet facilities to overcome Squalor. Free education was introduced to eradicate ignorance. The Benefit was also introduced to alleviate poverty. Labour exchange, now called jobcentre plus to overcome idleness, and finally, National Health Service (NHS) was introduced to deal with diseases. This historical event justified that global public health can be simply define as the discipline that address health at a population level without the use of clinical approach such as physician therapy or occupational therapy who deals with individuals levels whilst public health deals with a group of people which include sick and healthy people (skolnik, Hunter et al and Last)

The current health system is said to be socialised Medicare, which means free at the point of need and is funded by the government through taxation and insurance contributors. The delivery of service is funded in different ways, and it involves of national health England, national health Scotland, national health Wales and national service health Northern Ireland (Boyle 2011). General practitioners are the first point of contact whenever medical attention is needed, then refer patients to secondary care which are provided by special doctor’s consultants, Nurses and other healthcare professionals if there is a need (Boyle2011). Pharmaceuticals care also play a major part in the National health system in the United Kingdom by dispensing medicals based on prescription from the doctors and other health care professionals. Further, Social care, however, is responsible for 152 councils with adult social care which has been shifted from residential to a community, where the provision of care has been a transition from the public sector to private and voluntary organisation with financing aspect been a mixture of local authorities and private, popularly known as “out-of-pocket model.” Mental Health System since its foundation in 1948 was like an asylum detention system where people with mental problem received any forms of treatment compared to today system where primary care and community-based service assisted by specialist patients care with person centre care being a paramount goal. However, 1997 saw some major reforms in the National Health system, with the introduction of the National Institute for Health and Clinical excellence with the responsibility of assessing and providing guidance on medical treatments and procedures. Care Quality Commission was also introduced to regulate care providers and monitor the delivery of service to ensure the quality of care is being given to service users through regular inspection. To conclude, the health system remains free, and people with special needs get privileges. For example, people who are aged 60 or over get free sight tests, free prescription, breast screening programs to women 50 up to70 and care and Disable children Acts enshrined access and empowerment to service users. (Boyle 2011).

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