Arguments For and Against The State Provision of Welfare

For this assignment I have been asked to choose two of the five conventional social policy areas and provide a brief description of the current UK government service provisions in these two areas. Then to identify what I would consider being the main justification for and against retaining the services I have described. The National Health Service (NHS) came into operation in July 1948. It was a fully comprehensive system, which covered all forms of medical treatment. No one was charged directly for any of its services, including prescription, and no one was forced to use it.

Patients could still pay for private treatment and doctors could practice in both areas. All hospitals, a part form teaching hospitals, were brought under Government control. With the development of Primary Care Groups (PCGs) it is hoped that General Practitioners (GPs) will be able to identify needs in the local area and develop services that are required. The Primary Care Team includes the GPs, Health Visitors, Practice Nurse, Community Psychiatric nurse (CPN) and District nurses. Because the PCG Board includes representatives from the nursing staff, issues related to nursing care are being identified.

Other practitioners offering services to the public are dentists, pharmacists and chiropodists. Secondary Care Hospital Trusts offer secondary care to patients. All Hospital Trusts are required to produce an annual report, covering statistics showing patients treated, financial details and developments in service provisions, both current and planned. With the development of the PCGs, commissioning services in the secondary sector is shared between the PCGs and the DHA (District Health Authority). Patients are referred to hospital by their GP, except for attendance at Accident and Emergency (A&E), where many people are self-referred.

S. T. D. (sexually transmitted disease) Clinics (sometimes called GUM (genito-urinary medical)) are attached to main hospitals and give free confidential advice to people with genito-urinary infections including HIV. Access to these is also self-referral. With the development of NHS Direct and Walk in Centres, there may be more diversity of ways of referral in the future. Because of changes in technology, many hospitals can offer day surgery for routine operations such as removal of wisdom teeth, removal of cataracts and other minor surgery that requires a general anaesthetic.