Chapter Review: Conclusions Toward the Future
In Chapter 17, “Conclusions Toward the Future,” Bryant, Raphael and Rioux elaborate on the current themes in health research and practice in Canada; these cover several themes including: defining the field of health studies; conflict versus consensus models; prevention versus cure; the public versus private debate; constructing illness and disability; the role of public policy; and the future of the welfare state. First, the field of health studies is being said to expand beyond traditional concepts of risk epidemiology and health care treatment evaluation; health studies has to consider health and illness and how it affects society and the organization of health care, not just on a case by case basis. Consensus models, focusing on social/individual interrelationships are different from conflict models, which focus on the power and tension between others. In Canada, the liberal political economy prevents issues of prevention to be brought up as opposed to issues of care; an emphasis on prevention is said to require attention to public policies that offer security for a variety of citizens’ needs.
The issue of whether the private or public sector should handle health care is alive and well in Canada; it is said that more privatization is hurting health care institutions in Canada. The framing of illness and disability into different pathologies in society is something that Canada must improve (namely spending on disability support). Public policy also determines health care to a large degree, as it regulates competition and allotment of public services and subsidies to health care practitioners. In essence, the Canadian government has an opportunity to bring about greater public policies that are more supportive of healthcare, and must continue to resist privatization.