Essay – Availability of Free Healthcare to All Citizens by the Government

Posted on April 5, 2023 by Cheapest Assignment

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HEALT1113 Supplementary Task

Topic – Should Governments be obliged to ensure that free, accessible healthcare is available to all citizens, irrespective of age or healthcare status?


Healthcare is the maintenance of health or the improvement in health conditions of individuals or a community through an organized provision of effective and timely medical care. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this calls for the correct diagnosis of diseases, timely administration of effective treatment, and prevention of injury, illness, and disease along with other impairments, both mental and physical, in people of a community.

The World Health Organization has identified five crucial elements to realize the goal of better health for all. These include covering all societies universally without any social disparity, tending to people’s expectations and the area’s needs, ensuring such awareness trickles into all sectors that make up the society, collaborating with local healthcare facilities, and increasing public participation (Beveridge, 1942). Such exercises have been put into action in the developed countries of the world and have enabled them to establish a sound health care system while the scene in the developing countries, is quite contrary. To determine the quality of healthcare in a country, a combination of several factors is considered. These include successful medical outcomes, which are supported by evidence and records, safe care, and lastly, the experience of the patients (Dawson, 2012).

Key stakeholders

Health care in developed countries

To understand health care in developed countries, an example of the United Kingdom is taken. Health care in the United Kingdom is an advanced affair with nations like Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland each having an independent unit of health care that is publicly funded. These systems are funded by respective parliaments, voluntary provisions, and a few other private organizations. The National Health Service (NHS) takes care of these processes. It employs a team of doctors known as General Practitioners, to provide basic healthcare to the people and if needed, provide referrals to the patients to consult specialists in hospitals (Gnani et al., 2005). In the United Kingdom, the health care system provides many basic facilities like direct access for all to the Accident and Emergency departments in the hospitals, ambulance services free of cost during emergencies, availability of vital medicines in the pharmaceutical stores, and the location of these stores near the hospitals and also in the remote areas. Although the UK has divided health care systems, the assessment of health care in the United Kingdom as a whole, is carried out by many organizations of which OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) is one. Such assessment has continuously supported the claim that the United Kingdom has one of the best healthcare systems in the world (Jervis, 2013). Similar is the case with other developed countries.

Health Care in Developing Countries

Similar to the case of the United Kingdom for the observation of health care in a developed country, an example of health care in developing countries has been demonstrated by taking up the country of the People’s Republic of China. A developing country is often defined as an agricultural country that does not have advanced and stable economic and social conditions but seeks to achieve the same. Developing countries, often termed underdeveloped countries, have an industrial base that has not been fully developed and a significantly lower Human Development Index (HDI). One of the main causes for this is the fact that people in developing countries do not have access to basic healthcare facilities (Hsico, 1995). There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that confirms that the interventions of effective health care are massively underutilized in developing countries. Growing population, lack of awareness regarding health care among the masses, economic disparities in the various strata of society, orthodox practices, and ineffective governance are the major reasons for this sorry state of affairs in health care among developing nations.


The health care practices in China are controlled and overseen by the Ministry of Health. It has seen no major improvement in the healthcare sector and many people in China cannot avail of even basic healthcare services (Jervis, 2013). Various problems like equality for minority groups, lack of financial resources for the establishment of a sound health care system in the country, and a larger aging problem due to the one-child policy are the factors that are working against China in its efforts to set up an advanced health care system those benefits its population.

Free and accessible healthcare in developing countries

Healthcare which is free of cost and accessible to all the people in the society, irrespective of age and current health care status is the need of the hour in developing nations. Most concisely, access to health care would mean availability in a geographical sense but factors like the acceptability of these services by the people and affordability must be taken into consideration (Thurston, 2014). Due to these underdeveloped and inefficient healthcare systems, millions of people suffer heavily and lose their lives to diseases like malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, etc. for which simple treatments, interventions, and drug usage have been devised for a long time now. According to statistics, around fifty-two percent of the people who succumb to these diseases are children who do not get timely treatment due to availability and affordability issues. A similar sad state is prevalent when it comes to vaccinations. Vaccinations for serious diseases like hepatitis, influenza, polio, etc. have been discovered fairly long ago but a majority of the population in developing countries never receive these. Birthing mothers deliver their babies in unhygienic conditions in villages without any supervision.

There exists a multitude of factors that have led to this miserable condition. Foremost among these, is the poor economic conditions that prevail in these counties. Almost one-half of the population in these countries is below the poverty line and for them, such medical facilities are a dream. The economic constraints do not allow families to get their children admitted to hospitals even when they are fatally ill. The outburst in the population in developing countries has worsened the healthcare system immensely (Liu et al., 2008). Lack of basic education and blind beliefs in age-old harmful practices are growing concerns. An ineffective government proves detrimental to any health care scheme and this is the case with almost all developing nations. Corrupt government officials make use of the funds sanctioned by the central government for public welfare and health care for personal gains and make the public and eventually the country suffer due to a lack of basic health care facilities.

Preparation Stage of Successful Change

Advantages of free healthcare

Free health care should not be seen as a luxury and made available to the elite in developing nations. Instead, free health care should be seen as a fundamental right of the people irrespective of their age, social status, their profession, and beliefs. Only when a person is healthy, can he focus on his work, provide basic facilities to his family and contribute to the growth of society and the country as a whole. Awareness regarding health care problems has to be spread among the people. Basic hygienic practices that should be followed at home should be demonstrated by the people employed in the health care programs (Gnani et al., 2005). The people should be informed of the various government schemes that are present for their health benefits and should be encouraged to make use of the same. Insurance companies should be asked to provide reasonable return rates on medical policies. The government has to play a huge role in this aspect. Ambulance facilities that can timely deliver a patient to the hospital in times of emergency should be increased. Pregnant women should be educated about the pre-delivery check-ups that are available free of cost in government hospitals. Vaccinations should be administered to all children even in the remotest of villages. A developing country can only aspire to become a developed one when it has a reliable and efficient healthcare system in place.

Disadvantages of free healthcare

Although the disadvantages of providing basic health care are few, they cannot be ignored. Providing free health care would result in a larger number of people coming to hospitals looking for treatment free of cost which could adversely affect the financial situation of the medical sector. The doctors, nurses, and other medical staff would be overworked in this way and their quality of work would be adversely affected. The medical equipment, the laboratories where tests are conducted, and medicines could fall short and could cause public agitation (Gray, 2008). Hence, proper planning and funding by the government are required before the implementation of any such program. Enough medical professionals should be employed in government hospitals to make sure that they are not overworked and underpaid. Also, it has to be made sure that the people realize that the government can provide basic healthcare facilities and that not all of their problems can be solved free of cost. This would prevent the people from becoming lazy and too dependent on the government and blaming it for all of their problems.

Unit 11 – The Role of Public Health in Health & Social Care


Beveridge, W. 1942. Social Insurance and Allied Services. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 24 June 2016]

Dawson, A. 2012. Public Health Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Gray, J. 2008. Evidence-based healthcare and public health Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston

Gnani, S., Leys, C., Pollock, A., Rowland, D., Price, D. 2005. NHS plc the Privatisation of Our Health Care: 3rd, London, Verso,

Hsico, W 1995. Chinese Health Care System: Lessons for other nations

Jervis, C. 2013. Stop saving the NHS and start reinventing it.: Kinetic Consulting Ltd Pub.

Liu TQ, Ng C, Ma H, et al. 2008. Comparing models of mental health service system between Australia and China: implications for the future development of Chinese mental health service. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 24 June 2016]

Thurston, M. 2014. Key Themes in Public Health: Oxon, Routledge

Triggle, N. 2016. Junior doctors’ strike: Second all-out stoppage hits NHS – BBC News. [Online]. BBC News. Available at: [Accessed 24 June 2016]

Worthington, R. and Rohrbaugh, R. 2011. Health policy and ethics. London: Radcliffe Pub.

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