The Social And Biomedical Models Of Health Essay

The Social And Biomedical Models Of Health Essay

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Health and ill health can mean different things to different people. According to (Seedhouse, 1986) “A person’s optimum state of health is equivalent to the state of the set of conditions which fulfil or enable a person to work to fulfil his or her realistic chosen and biological potentials.” Seedhouse gives a social definition to health and does not take into consideration the advances that can be made when using factors of the biomedical model. This essay will evaluate the social and biomedical models of health, incorporating the sociological perspectives of Parsons (1951) and Marx (1818).
The biomedical model of health focuses on the physical and biological aspects of disease and illness along with the key elements of diagnosis and cure. The biomedical model is dominant over other models of health; this is due to the majority of funding, according to being allocated to the doctors and hospitals that provide patients with prescription drugs, scans, x-rays and tests. According to (NHS, 2015) “[NHS funding] for 2015/16… was around £115.4 billion”. It could be argued that society has become heavily dependant on medical professionals for ‘quick fix’ cures. According to (Hira, 2015) “…it is probably easier for patients to pop a pill as opposed to changing their lifestyle, exercising and losing weight”. However, Marx (1818) would argue that due to capitalism, hospitals and doctors promote and offer these ‘quick fix’ treatments, because they are the cheapest option and that the poor are being exploited. One of the advantages of the biomedical model is the ability to improve quality of life, for example; a patient born with cystic fibrosis (“… a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick stick...


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...ly be trying to regain their health. Dementia is a condition that causes the brain to rapidly deteriorate and the ability to communicate, understand and remember can quickly decline; therefor the individual cannot be held responsible for not trying to regain their health. Society adapts to such illnesses so the patient can take on a more permanent sick role.
Both the social and biomedical models offer different perspectives of how health is viewed in society; this is either by focusing on how to stay healthy in order to prevent illness or how to cure an illness or disease. It may be beneficial to merge the two models together, making a bio/social model of health; a society that works towards promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness, but still uses medical advances in order to cure and diagnose illnesses and diseases that are out of the hands of society.

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