Definition of Social Policy
Social policy primarily refers to guidelines and interventions for the changing, maintenance or creation of living conditions that are conducive to human welfare. Thus, social policy is a part of public policy that has to do with social issues. More specifically, it also considers detailed issues in policy and administration of social services, including policies for health, housing, education and social work, and needs and issues affecting the users of services, including poverty, old age, disability, and family policy.
To have more clearly speaking, terms of social needs, social integration and alienation will be elaborated. Social needs are people’s needs which are socially defined according to social conditions. Yet we can still have a look at Hierarchy of ‘Need” as a reference since social needs are part of the basic needs. According to A.H. Maslow (1943), there are a hierarchy of five sets of goals including physiological, safety, love, esteem and respect, and self-actualization. These goals are related to one another, being arranged in hierarchy of prepotency.
Social integration is referred to the process of building up a sense of community and social network amongst different community groups and individuals, hence people all live together in a peaceful and harmonious manner. It is the key element to social stability and can be achieved by promoting social mobility.
Alienation is opposite to social integration, which means the feeling of being neglected or isolated and excluded from the rest. Such feeling of seclusion may destroy any sense of community or belonging and hence lead to social instability. Various types of social policy are being implemented in a society, such as family policy, education policy, and healthcare policy and so forth. We will particularly focus on social policies which aim to improve human welfare and to meet human needs for health, education and housing.
Overview and Comment On Social Policy in Heath Aspect
The health system of Hong Kong is considered as one of the best world-wide. It is divided into two parts, which are public health services and private health services. Our government heavily subsided for the former services but citizens need to pay for the fee for the latter services. The Department of Health executes health care policies and statutory functions so as to safeguard the health of the community through preventive and rehabilitative services. In order to achieve the goal, subvention for the Hospital Authority has been increased in recent years. Besides, it is expected that ageing population will increase, expectations of health care will rise, and medical costs will soar. Therefore, it is not difficult to foresee that health expenditure will become a heavy burden for our government. Based on this problem, our government proposed to have a reform and some policies were implemented. I will look at two schemes in the following part. 3.1 Early Health Care Voucher Pilot Scheme
Early Health Care Voucher Pilot Scheme (HCVS) was addressed in the Policy Address 2007 -2008. The Scheme is to give elders who aged 70 or above five health care voucher of $50 annually. It aims to allow elderly to gain access to health care services in the private sector with subsidy and hence minimize the number of patients on the waiting list in the public sector. Through the Scheme, the elderly can have additional choices on top of the existing public healthcare services which would continue to be provided, hence equity is encouraged as a universal access to medical services regardless of wealth or status is promoted. It will contribute as a positive function since social integration is encouraged. Besides, complaints are always arouse due to the long waiting list of the public sector, patients can now save their time by visiting private doctors with partially subsidization. However, in order to further fulfill the social needs, eligibility for...
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