Describe the main inequalities found in health care and health status

Essay by felicityUniversity, Bachelor'sB, February 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.8

Inequalities in health care and health status

Inequalities in health care have resulted in disparities in health status. The impact is particularly evident amongst social class V who suffer from lower life expectancies (Townsend: 1992).

There is consistent evidence that those in social class V are more likely to be exposed to multiple, environmental risks that portend adverse health consequences. They are more likely to encounter pollution, noise, substandard quality housing and crowding. Typically, lower class working conditions leave labourers open to greater physical danger. Heavy lifting or tasks with repetitive strain plus daily contact with toxins, fumes, dust etc, have a negative impact on health (Townsend: 1992)

A G.P in an affluent area typically provides a superior service than one in a working class locality. Smaller patient lists allow for longer and swifter access to appointments (Walters: 1980) resulting in greater doctor/patient relations (Townsend: 1992). Twice as many middle class patients are referred to hospital and are more likely to be visited there by their GP.

The combination of a GP's likely additional qualifications and greater direct access to x-ray equipment and scanners for those living in affluent areas, results in quicker and more accurate diagnosis (Walters: 1980).

Geographically there is an uneven distribution of hospitals and resources within Britain with higher numbers in the South which is paradoxically inverse to the higher concentration of social class V inhabiting the North. Further, there is a greater distribution of teaching hospitals in the South with more staff of all levels available than non-teaching hospitals. A higher proportion of middle class patients are sent to teaching hospitals than working class (Walters: 1980).

Private health care is quintessentially solely afforded by the middle class (Pinker: 1988). Private patients will have choice concerning the date of admission, receive care immediately regardless of urgency,