Impact of Socioeconomic Factors on Health Care Access

Understanding the Socioeconomic Influences on Health

Effects of socioeconomic influences on health

Socio-economic factors have a major effect on the health of individuals within society. This may be in terms of healthcare services they can receive or the kind of life they lead due to their socio-economic status. It is true that the National Insurance Scheme, which was founded in 1911, is meant to protect those who may not afford expensive medical expenses, Gyllstrom, Hellerstedt, and Hennrikus (2012) say that quality healthcare is still a preserve for the rich. The United Kingdom has some of the world’s finest private hospitals whose services cannot be compared to those offered in public healthcare facilities. It means that issues such as unemployment and low income may have a negative influence on healthcare services. The kind of environment where people live may determine their health status. The rich stay in leafy suburbs of the city where the level of pollution is very low. On the other hand, the poor are subjected to negative environmental factors both at work and in their residential areas. One’s lifestyle in terms of food intake and engagement in exercises may also define one’s health status.

Relevance of government sources in reporting on inequalities in health

The national government has been releasing reports on inequalities of health. Masters (2014) gives an example of Black Report DHSS of 1980 that tried to explain the inequalities in health in the country based on socio-economic factors such as social status, race, religion, and other demographical factors. These government reports may help shed light on the problem of health inequality in the country. However, the truth is that government will always try to underestimate facts to save its image in the international society. The actual figures are rarely released to the public, especially if it shows a wide inequality in health between the poor and the rich. The data is relevant, but it is not always very reliable.

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Reasons for barriers to accessing healthcare

According to a report by Gottwald and Brown (2012), there are several barriers to accessing quality healthcare in the United Kingdom. Limited access to information is one of the major barriers to accessing healthcare. Diseases such as cancer can be managed if they are detected early enough. Barcelos and Gubrium (2014) say that over 95% of cancer diagnoses done when it is at stage one are always treated very easily. However, many people lack the right information about when they should go for screening. This problem is majorly affecting the poor and the less educated members of society. Another problem is the access to quality healthcare facilities. The country has some of the best hospitals, but access to them is restricted to many because of the associated costs. It means that the only option for the poor is to visit public healthcare facilities most of which lack the sophistication seen in private hospitals. Citizenship status is another problem that many hospitals have reported over the past few years. The United Kingdom is one of the countries that are trying to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. When these illegal immigrants visit healthcare facilities, especially public hospitals, it becomes difficult to offer them quality healthcare services because they cannot identify themselves using legal documents. A section of society has blamed discrimination as one of the barriers to quality healthcare services. The discrimination common in such institutions is majorly based on religion and race.

Reasons for Barriers to Accessing Healthcare

Links between government strategies and models of health promotion

The government has been working very closely with relevant stakeholders through various strategies to promote health in this society. There is a close link between government strategies and models of health promotion. Understanding the difference between health education and health promotion may help in explaining this concept. According to Green and Tones (2010), health education is a social science, popular with governments, that entails spreading awareness about a given disease to empower the public in fighting them. On the other hand, health promotion is more of an advertisement that seeks to encourage people to maintain optimum health. Government is more concerned with health promotion as a way of letting the public understand how they can be responsible for their health.

Social Learning Theory is very relevant when explaining health promotion models. This theory holds that people learn through observation, modeling, or imitation. Individuals are more likely to learn when they see what happens to people around them. This learning approach is what government seeks to fight through its health education theory. It is not advisable to wait and see what happens to friends or relatives before learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes we may end up being the lesions to others instead of learning from them. In its attempt to empower the public and encourage them to seek early medical attention for any health problems they are facing, the government has faced several challenges, especially with the issue of belief. Health Belief Model can be used to explain the unfortunate phenomena. This theory posits that the beliefs and attitudes of an individual may make them reject or accept given preventive health services or behavior (Lee & Tilbury 2008). Such retrogressive beliefs may make an individual avoid measures that may help protect them from health problems in the future. The model can further be explained using the Theory of Reasoned Action. This theory seeks to predict the behavioral intention, attitude, and behavior of an individual. The government can use these models to understand why some people reject some of the health policies, and how compromises can be made to ensure that everyone is covered in future health education programs. Currently, the national government is running anti-smoking campaigns, vaccination programs, and healthy eating campaigns among others to educate the public.

Role of professionals in meeting government targets for health promotion

Health professionals have a major role to play in health promotion campaigns. The responsibility of promoting health should start at school. School nurses should always engage students and help them understand the consequences of a given lifestyle and the behavioral patterns they can embrace to lead a healthy life while at school and in their future lives. This empowerment of young minds will help reduce cases of resistance to some of the preventive measures taken by the government to curb some diseases. There should be a liaison between parents and school caregivers to help address any misunderstanding and promote awareness to the larger public. Some parents still believe in practices that are widely considered detrimental to their health and the health of their children. Having a close relationship between such parents and health professionals working in schools may help promote desirable values in society. Health specialists such as physicians, dentists, opticians, neurologists, urologists, and obstetricians among others should increase their presence in both the mass and social media to explain concepts and issues that may help society to lead responsible lifestyles. Through such programs, society will have a better understanding of how to deal with issues such as obesity, cancer, heart-related problems, and alcohol abuse.

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Role of routines in promoting healthy living

Routines may help prevent numerous diseases. For many people, personal hygiene is only an issue of grooming. However, Stanhope and Lancaster (2015) say that this routine is very critical in fighting diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and dental problems. Some of the dreaded diseases such as HIV can be spread from one person to another due to poor hygiene. This is common among drug addicts who share needs while injecting the drug into their system without observing the cleanliness of the instruments. Healthy eating is another important routine that many people do not observe. Many people have adequate knowledge about a balanced diet. However, only a handful of this population is keen to observe this rule, leading to lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Finally, it is very important to maintain regular exercise. It helps in maintaining the body physically fit and helps in eliminating calories from the body.

Understanding Factors Which Influence Health Promotion

How health beliefs relate to theories of health behavior

Health beliefs may have a serious impact on health promotions as explained by several theories. For instance, the sections above have discussed Health Belief Model that explains how an individual’s social, political, and religious beliefs may influence health promotion within the society. Grossman (2013) says that some religious groups still do not believe in vaccination as a way of preventing some diseases. Others still believe that the real solution to their health problems is to use traditional methods, some of which are very ineffective. The lay public is the worst affected by some of these religious or traditional health practices. Masters (2014) says that sometimes government also takes part of the blame when it comes to misleading the public. For instance, the recent referendum campaign in Scotland saw government officials and experts claim that this part of the United Kingdom will have a stronger healthcare system if it remained as part of the larger kingdom. Bringing politics on matters relating to health is not advisable because those who do not share the same political ideology may not trust future campaigns even if they hold the truth.

Possible effects of potential conflicts with local industry on health promotion

Health promotional campaigns have been in major conflicts with several industries. The tobacco industry has been the worst hit. Government experts have been running adverts against smoking cigarettes despite the revenues the industry generates for the economy. This is one of the highly taxed industries as the government tries to dissuade the public from using tobacco. In the recent past, a section of the society started campaigns to convince the government to ban all cigarette campaigns on both television and major radio stations. However, achieving a total ban on tobacco ban has been a challenge. Some of the tobacco companies have realized that they can no longer use traditional promotional campaigns because of the numerous restrictions put in place by the government. They have come up with new ways of promoting their brands and products. British American Tobacco is currently involved in various corporate social responsibilities. They know that they will get media coverage when they participate in such events. The amount of money that was previously used in paying for the promotional adverts is now used to finance these social activities because the outcome will be the same. The alcohol and leisure industry is also in conflict with health promotion campaigns. As the industry tries to promote a drinking culture in society, health experts are promoting awareness about the dangers of alcohol. The hospitality and food industry is also affected. Fast foods have been blamed to be the major reason for the rise of obesity and diabetes in the country.

Importance of providing relevant health-related information to the public

Providing relevant information to the public is very important because it reduces early deaths caused by manageable diseases. It will also reduce rates of dependence caused by constant sickness among members of society. Increasing personal responsibility through these campaigns will lower the cost of care, especially if the public follows the guidelines offered to them on how to stay healthy. For instance, communicable diseases such as Ebola can be contained if the public knows how to protect themselves in case of an outbreak. The vulnerable groups such as those affected by discrimination also stand to benefit from these promotions which discourage any form of discrimination. It is also expected that such promotions will help fight health inequalities by providing the best alternative solutions to people who may not have financial muscles.

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Planning an Anti-Smoking Promotion Campaign

Health promotion campaign to meet set objectives

Smoking is one of the most undesirable routines that affect many people in the country. In this plan, the various stakeholders will participate in ensuring that the routine is discouraged within our society. The campaign will start from institutions of learning in the country. To achieve success at this stage, close coordination between teachers, parents, and health experts will be needed to explain to adolescents and young adults that smoking is dangerous for their health. The promotion will be done in schools with the help of volunteers. The volunteers must not necessarily be health experts. They can be members of society who are seen as role models to the younger generation. They may also include people who used substances at a given stage in their lives and suffered for it. Festivals will also offer the opportunity to dissuade the youth from using drugs. Campaigns organized outside learning institutions will target the entire public irrespective of their age. Such campaigns will majorly be based on media adverts. Both the social and mass media will be critical in explaining about dangers of smoking. Social and cultural institutions such as churches will be very important in promoting the campaign. The youths, through their church youth groups, can be educated about the dangers of smoking and ways to avoid such routines in one’s entire life. Those who are already addicted can be helped to manage their condition or be directed to rehabilitation centers in various parts of the country. Community nurses, clinicians, and other health professionals are expected to play active roles in the campaign. Masters (2014) observes that people always trust messages coming from professionals. That is why their input will be necessary. This plan will help in meeting the objective of promoting leaving in families.

How the health promotion campaign supports health promotion strategies

This health promotion plan will support other promotional campaigns that are currently sponsored by health professionals. According to Naidoo and Willis (2009), the government has been seen as a party with special interests when it comes to the fight against smoking. Large British multinational tobacco companies bring in massive income to the government in form of tax. It is ethically wrong to continue collecting tax from these companies while still claiming to be against the products they offer. The political interests in these companies have further crippled the effectiveness of the government to fight cigarette smoking in the country. It is for this reason that the researcher considered it necessary to work with the willing stakeholders to fight smoking as one of the routines that are known to cause a series of major medical problems such as liver cirrhosis and other medical complications. This campaign is specifically targeted to support strategies that nurses in various parts of the country are using to discourage smoking. The researcher appreciates their effort. The problem is that they have not received support from important stakeholders such as government agencies to implement their strategies properly. Through this plan, they will have a better forum through which they will be able to speak to the society about dangers of smoking.

List of References

Barcelos, C & Gubrium, 2014, ‘Reproducing Stories: Strategic Narratives of Teen Pregnancy and Motherhood’, International Journal of Sociology of the Family, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 466-481.

Gottwald, M & Brown, J 2012, A Guide to Practical Health Promotion, Open University Press, Berkshire.

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Green, J & Tones, K 2010, Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies, Sage Publishers, New York.

Grossman, S 2013, Mentoring in nursing: A dynamic and collaborative process, Springer Publishers, New York.

Gyllstrom, E, Hellerstedt, W & Hennrikus, D 2012, ‘The Association of Maternal Mental Health with Prenatal Smoking Cessation and Postpartum Relapse in a Population-Based Sample’, Matern Child Health Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 685–693.

Lee, J & Tilbury, D 2008, ‘Changing Environments: The Challenge for Environmental Education’, Nursing Education Journal, vol. 83, no. 3, pp. 227-236.

Masters, K 2014, Role development in professional nursing practice, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington.

Masters, K 2014, Role development in professional nursing practice, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington.

Naidoo, J & Willis, J 2009, Foundation for Health Promotion, Tindal, Balliere.

Stanhope, M & Lancaster, J 2015, Public health nursing: Population-cantered health care in the community, Elsevier, St. Louis.

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