Every person will need healthcare at some point in their lives, no matter how healthy they may be. No matter whether the world is going through a golden age, war, recession or a crisis, there will always be people requiring medical treatment, only that this percentage of a population may change with the times. However, a country’s ability to provide healthcare for its people is highly subjective to how well its economy is doing and whether there is sufficient manpower in healthcare services to treat everyone in need. As such, there may come times when healthcare providers inevitably have to turn people away if they are unable to keep up with the demand for medical treatment.
With the rising elderly population and the recent coronavirus situation, stricter measures may be taken to ensure that those in greatest need of healthcare will receive it. As a result, some people with other ailments may be denied healthcare in order to avoid filling up hospitals’ capacity. Additionally, limited resources may be available to those suffering from “less severe” illnesses compared to the most important issue plaguing the people. What are the consequences caused by this deprivation of healthcare and how can we as a society deal with them?
One direct consequence of being deprived of healthcare is, of course, that people will suffer from untreated diseases. There is never a shortage of people to fill up hospitals in any country, especially with the current pandemic. Cities finding themselves overwhelmed by the ill may be forced to turn some away from receiving healthcare. For example, those with diseases that are deemed to be less severe may be sent back to recuperate in their own homes, with the only remedy being self-medication. Some authorities may set rules stating which ailments and demographics groups should be prioritized over others when healthcare is scarce. It is almost guaranteed that not everyone will agree with these rules, but they are often necessary for the greater good of the population even if it is at the expense of a minority.
When it comes to dealing with the increased demand for healthcare due to an aging population, it can be easier to plan as there is ample time for people to do their calculations and guess at when the country would need to step up healthcare policies and support. Thus, in countries dealing with an increase in the number of elderly, some ways to deal with the consequences of healthcare deprivation include budgeting and making plans to increase funding for the elderly in the future, building more hospitals and clinics and increasing the public’s accessibility to crucial tests for diseases, to name a few. The more financial aid that is available to the elderly, the more accessible basic healthcare will be to them, which can make a key difference in many of their lives, especially for those who are retired and living on their life savings. Increasing the number of healthcare providers not only increases the quota of patients the country can take at any time, but also improves the accessibility of healthcare for elderly who live in faraway towns and provinces, as they may be less likely to travel far just to receive treatments. It would also help for a country to take in more medicine students, especially those specialized in treating the elderly’s ailments.
However, if the increase in demand for healthcare is due to a disease, as is the case with any pandemic, most countries will not be prepared for the sudden surge in numbers of the sick. The straightforward option would be to build a hospital, as Wuhan did, in as little time as a number of days. Even so, they were still not able to accommodate all the ill and had to turn away a considerable number of people as the numbers of those who had contracted the virus continued to spike. Another option would be to instruct people on how to self-medicate, if at all possible, in order to minimize the number of people that would go to a healthcare provider and seek help. If everyone who was afflicted with a common fever or cold stayed at home to treat themselves, the healthcare providers would have more time and resources to dedicate to those afflicted with the pandemic. One other option may be to seek help from other countries with resources, manpower and funds to spare. For instance, in the early stages of Covid-19 when most of the world was not yet affected, many countries lent their aid to China to take some of the burden off their healthcare workers. Although some provinces were still overflowing with the sick, the number would have been much more if others had not helped.
Another consequence of healthcare deprivation is that people’s trust in the government may be swayed. Citizens of a country often expect their authorities to take care of their needs, an important one of which is healthcare. This can be a problem when a country faces an economic downfall, periods of civil unrest or some other crisis that cripples the nation. While some people may understand if they are denied healthcare due to a difficult crisis the country is facing, others may believe that their rights have been violated. Even without any pressing situations, a considerable number of people feel that their country’s medical aid is insufficient to cover all of the expenses a person will face over their lifetime. Sometimes people are turned away from receiving much-needed healthcare simply because they are unable to afford it or have difficulty acquiring the required documents to apply for a subsidy. Whatever the reason, if people are unable to receive healthcare in their home country for too long, they may begin to doubt the government and feel unsatisfied with the healthcare policies.
The main problem behind this consequence is that the people’s concerns are not being listened to. As such, to combat this issue, the government could conduct periodic surveys asking for feedback on the healthcare system and its accessibility to the common folk. By learning more about how the public feels about the healthcare system, the government could make some changes to reduce the deprivation of healthcare services. This problem can also typically be solved by increasing funding for healthcare directives and ensuring that the money is put to good use by treating those of the general public that require medical aid, as well as building more healthcare facilities to increase the number of patients that can be treated at any one time.
In conclusion, it can be agreed that the deprivation of healthcare is a visible issue in our daily lives and can cause important repercussions if not properly dealt with. To increase the availability of healthcare to the public and ensuring that people’s trust in the government is not misplaced, it is advisable that the government looks into increasing healthcare funding, building more medical facilities and making common tests for diseases more available.
May 08, 2020