How can we continue to promote equal access and service provision with so many existing imbalances?
An ongoing challenge with regards to health and social care is the provision of equal access to all communities and demographic groups. There is no question that imbalances will continue to pervade the health and social care system due to varying health related needs for differing population members with unique social and cultural backgrounds. However, recent research has found that a range of additional factors contribute to imbalances in service provision beyond just these relatively unchangeable characteristics, including a lack of knowledge or awareness of services, dwelling in rural environments with lower access to facilities and health care workers, language and cultural barriers and socioeconomic factors preventing time or access needed for seek care. Addressing each of these factors will be important in promoting equal access in health and social care service provision. A single approach will not suffice. Instead, a multidimensional effort that includes programmes targeted at each of these contributes to imbalance will be needed. A model of health and social care that is adaptive to community based needs, while housed within a consistent national structure, will be necessary to promote equal access to care. The Equality Act of 2010 served as a significant step forward in the effort to combat discrimination within health and social care. However, some limitations still remain with regards to its modernity and applicability to current access and equitability needs. Future reform will be needed to address modern challenges associated with immigration, globalisation and a rising national age to combat imbalances in access.
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