Making an original contribution to debates on health policy, this accessible and engaging book critically examines the future of health care and public health policy from the perspective of users and citizens. Consumerism, partnerships with patients and user involvement are seen as key to future health care and healthy public policies. The book outlines how individuals as patients, healthy people and research subjects relate to health services and how the public, as citizens, influence health care and public policies at local, national and international levels.
Chapter 6: Citizens
Every government carries a health warning.
Richard Tawney wrote in 1931:
Health is a purchasable commodity of which a community can possess, within limits, as much or as little as it cares to pay for. It can turn its resources in one direction and 50 000 of its members will live who would otherwise have died; it can turn them in another and 50 000 will die who would otherwise have lived.
Public policies have an enormous impact on health by putting resources where they are most likely to improve health – income, environment, food safety, clean water and good housing – or not. However, taking action is not quite so simple. There is an enormous distance between people's everyday experiences and national policy making ...