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Health Sociology: Analysis of Healthcare Systems

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2983 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The health care system is considered as the primary concerns of the government of Australia. This is because health care is very crucial need of an individual. The Australian Health care system is characterized by different tiers and division based on their professional responsibility, boundaries, and authority for health care provision (Germov, 2014). This essay will examine the dominance of power and hierarchy in Australian health care and its impact on nurses through the Marxism and feminism sociological theory of perspective. Initially, the essay will explore the existing hierarchy and power about the Australian health care system. Subsequently, it will discuss the relationship between hierarchy and power in regards to two sociological theories Marxism and feminism perspective with its implication on health care system (Annandale, 2012). Finally, the essay will conclude with how two theories differ from the biomedical model of health. The consequences of the theory to the health care systems will also be evaluated.

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The study will give a comprehensive report on the various researches done on the current situation of the health services and operations and try to give opinions on how to improve them. From the findings on the sociological theories and from other suggestions the paper provides an outline of how the medical specialists ought to apply the teachings into the health systems of Australia. Health care is not an equal commodity to all Australian (Russell, 2007).


 There are less unfortunate individuals who are not able to acquire proper medication due to cost, and from the past, the government or the arms of power are not willing to offer any form of assistance. Are these people not part of the country?  How does the government expect them to survive without proper health care services? However, the number of men and women participating in a number of healthcare workforce varies sharply in distinct roles. Accordingly, the higher number of women who participate represents the positive side, but it’s not satisfied with their profession clarification (Kelly & Field, 2017). In that case, the number of men and women participation in the health care workforce varies sharply in different roles

The primary and secondary health care are the two healthcare which is in Australia. The Primary health care involves when an individual first get contact with a health specialist. An individual does not need a referral for this level of care, which comprises of services which are provided by general medical specialists, dental practitioners, Indigenous health workers, nurses, pharmacists (Annandale, 2012). They are delivered in Community Health Services, Health centers with a community and in organized public health promotion services. Secondary health care is not an independent body (Kelly & Field, 2017).  It is a gateway to broader health systems where individuals are referred from primary centers to seek specialized medication. Finally, that is the basic hierarchy of healthcare in Australia.

The arrangement of services differs from State to State; common elements comprise of strong funding mechanisms, qualified workforce, reliable information from where you base decisions and policies together with well-maintained facilities and the possibilities to deliver quality medicines and technologies (Kelly & Field, 2017). These professionals are from both the public and private sectors who work together to ensure good health to all Australians (Germov, 2014). The private sector is self-sponsored where they can cater to all their activities while the public sector is funded by the state.

The historical functions of gender within the healthcare system was to eliminate women from medicine based on perceptions that men are dominant (Kelly & Field, 2017). However, these perception were derived from beliefs that women are in second-class status.


The study of power can help understand the institution’s system which applies in health care systems. However, medical doctors have been dominating the health care system for a long time now. Medicine is considered as the epitome of a profession that slowly introduced the term Professional Dominance in healthcare service (Kelly & Field, 2017). There are other programs that are set by the government like the Health Insurance Fund which help an individual to acquire treatment free of charge in both the public and private health centers. Others include development funds that assist individuals in remote areas like the Aborigines and the less unfortunate people like refugees to acquire health care services (Germov, 2014).

Power and hierarchy of Australian health care system are also discussed in Marxism and Feminism theories below. The medical dominance in the healthcare systems of Australian started with the formation of a medical association to unify the doctors against the competitors (Ryan & Deci, 2011).  However, later on, the Victorian Government came up with legislation that gave doctors the total power to use medical titles to sign death certificates which helped them acquire the monopoly of their profession to control the scope of nursing.

The dominance can also be discussed through subordination which ensures that nurses work under the authority of doctors and limitation which is control over the practice of nurses. On the contrary, the medical dominance should not be achieved through the natural process but via scientific knowledge and unequal public status of the profession

Sociological Theories in Health Care Systems

Sociological theories generally explain the interactions of people, relationships and behavior are integrated to ensure social being of individuals.  Health is a state of good condition physically, emotionally and socially. Therefore, health is a very crucial tool for maintaining good relation and interaction with others in the society. Under the sociological theories, we have majored on Marxism and feminism (Lupton & Najman, 2015).

Marxism Theory

Under this theory of sociology, we understand that dispute arises due to unfairness in health care services. The social inequalities among individuals such as race, class, ethnicity, and gender are portrayed in health conditions and health care services. From the statistics, it is clearly shown that people receive health care services differently in Australia (Annandale, 2012). Many people at the remote places find it hard to access proper health care compared with those in the urban areas. It is very disastrous that many of these people who are less unfortunate are the most vulnerable to diseases where they are unable to acquire good health care (Germov, 2014). Marxism explains the social inequality is not based on monetary but political influence too. In that case, the power which is provided by politics in regulating the health care system is also seen in this theory.

The Marxism theory discourages efforts by the health specialists to have in control the whole medicine practice and to assume that all the social problems affecting people were due to medicine and not sociological factors (Ryan & Deci, 2011). This theory lays focus on the professional power of doctors. The positive aspect is that they assumed themselves as the only educated people in the society who can help people out of these social problems (Russell, 2007). The cynical view dictated that they imagined having a pay rise if they managed to dominate all social issues to be medical problems. For instance use of contraceptives as birth control pills among women is medical but giving birth is a social role of women in the society thus bringing conflict between the social sector and the medical instructions.

The implications of Marxism theory

The Marxism theory analyses the class relation. Labor processes and politics but hence fails explaining women’s oppression. Accordingly, it concludes that it applies to all members of the society irrespective of gender Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2011. In that case, it caused a need for Marxism feminism since it assumes that suppression of women is not resulting to any issue.

Feminist Theory

The Feminist theory seeks to balance areas where the distribution of power is not equalized among gender. However, it operates in the fields like abortion rights, violent crimes against women and maternity leave matters Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2011. Accordingly, it is the most common associated sociology theory with feminism since it highlights how women have contributed to social interaction and different institutions. Furthermore, it describes the societal differences in gender.

Implications of Feminist Theory

The feminist theory has stated men’s control over women’s roles in the medical profession. As an illustration, women involved in healing were predominant within the domestic and community areas, but their professional practice is always evaded by marriage and family relations (Bunton, Burrows & Nettleton, 2015). However, this theory fails to address significant reasons as to why women are always underrated within healthcare systems.

Biomedical model

The two theories Marxism and Feminism happen to be related since they argue against dominant positions which the health care providers get within the health care system but the biomedical model demands that doctors need to have power in all decision making and does not recognize nurses but expects them to be humanizers (Bunton, Burrows & Nettleton, 2015). Accordingly, the biomedical model requires the nurses to use technology while Marxism and feminism theory needs them to utilize their ability along with nurturing nature to deploy a relationship with patients.

Impacts on Health Practitioners

As a Health practitioner, there are critical values that one needs to have. One of them is always to recognize that working on people’s health is a calling from God and should be done in full responsibility (Bunton, Burrows & Nettleton, 2015). It is also very crucial to be a social being; relating well with classes of people without discrimination. All people are equal and deserve fair treatment. From the study, we have noted that power which in the hierarchy is very important in running the health care system. We as the physicians we need to respect the authority and take part in maintaining the policy and decisions made (Russell, 2007).  Another critical lesson is on the value of the society and traditions. We need to embrace the traditions of the culture to develop a good relationship with them.

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Physicians are professional people in the society. Therefore they should portray their dignity in their character to be role models to the rest. Their life should implicate what they say; living a healthy life to avoid illnesses ((Bunton, Burrows & Nettleton, 2015)). The patient and the physician should be free to each other so that the patient can explain his or her illnesses while the physician is also in a position to prescribe and guide the patient on healthy living.

Medical practitioners should be informed and well trained. Physicians ought to have adequate information on their field of medicine. The licensing of practice should be given to autonomously qualified individuals who are willing to work in the field of medicine (Bunton, Burrows & Nettleton, 2015). Supervisors and the management should be strict on observing how work is done to prevent cases of experimenting with people’s lives. Medicine is a crucial field and requires total concentration.

 A physician can also act as a government advisor of healthcare. Medical practitioners are the most concerned with health care, and so they should be on the front line to address issues affecting the health systems. Issues to do with development and innovation of health service and supply of health facilities like drugs should be discussed frequently (Cameron & Trivedi 2009).  There are also issues of poverty where some individuals are not in a position to pay for their medication. Physicians should be able to locate such cases and address those concerned to assist the patients.

Physicians should set up programs for public awareness. Some diseases are mushrooming from the current living styles (Bunton, Burrows & Nettleton, 2015). Some of these diseases are cancer, diabetes among others. Many people who are diagnosed with these deadly diseases are not even aware of how to deal with the situation Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2011. Medical practitioners should be organizing open days where they educate people on various conditions, causes, and prevention. This is very effective to the community who learn many things identify on themselves the symptoms of those diseases (Piggott, 2009). They can also invite Non -Governmental Organizations to give support on health-related issues like cancer-screening.

In conclusion, health care systems are all the activities that surround effective and efficient health care services. However, the existing hierarchy of power, the medical professionals can work in respect and coordination while observing regulations and policy set aside for good governance in the health sector. The theorists based on gender and class can be used to explain power and Hierarchy within the Australian Health System, and feminism and Marxism theory have illustrated the dominance of male practitioners being privileged over female nursing. The government should, therefore, work tirelessly in ensuring that all persons especially women to access appropriate health care as highlighted by feminist theory (H Russell, 2007). Division of labor on nurses is of significance.



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