Health Care: A Community Concern?

By Anne Crichton; Ann Robertson et al. | Go to book overview
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One of the problems in writing about community involvement in a collectivist society is that the meaning of the terms used is often unclear. There is an inconsistent definition and use of terms. Below are some of the definitions that were found. Since this book is concerned with reviewing the literature, it is likely that the terms used may vary from one person's writing to another, thus the readers must use their own judgement about the definition appropriate for a particular context.

The Biomedical Model of Care

Field (1973) has suggested that medical care has moved through four phases which he has called magical, religious, pastoral and scientific.

By the beginning of the twentieth century the western developed countries were putting their faith in scientific medical care (or the biomedical model) which proposed that the best health outcomes would result from consulting physicians for advice and treatment on the symptoms of disease. As a result of adopting this model, the number of medical specialists grew extensively and the medical profession developed "regional hierarchies" with quaternary and tertiary care specialists and university teachers at the top of the status ladder. Primary care was not so highly regarded.

McKeown (1971) and others have challenged this model as contributing only about ten per cent to the health of populations.

The principles underpinning health insurance in Canada are the provision of universal, comprehensive, portable, publicly administered and equitable medical and hospital care. At the time hospital insurance and diagnostic services, 1957, and medical care insurance, 1966, were brought in, Canadians wanted to have unlimited access to high quality biomedical services, and the guarantee of universal, comprehensive and portable care ensured this.


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