For this assignment we have been asked to analyse what social issues have an ethical effect on a business, and explain the seriousness of these issues whilst taking into consideration the stakeholders that are affected.
The NHS; Postcode Lottery
The postcode lottery; this is the ethical issue in which some areas of the country get better healthcare, cheaper/free medication or faster treatment all depending on where they live, also Recent examples include variations in charges for disabled people's home care, NHS availability of the multiple sclerosis drug, beta interferon; availability of NHS invitro fertilisation services; waiting times for NHS treatment; assessment of children on social service "at risk" registers, access to NHS cancer screening programmes, and availability of drugs for Alzheimer's disease. This affects everybody all over the country, because everybody has a post code and everybody is going to need some form of healthcare at some point in their lives.
Example (from www.guardian.co.uk);
Generally speaking, the poorer you are, and the more socially deprived your area, the worse your care and access to it is likely to be. This is known as the "inverse care law". Well-off Kingston and Richmond, Surrey, has 50 per cent more GPs than deprived Barnsley, for example. But drug prescribing, and notoriously, abortion services, have been capriciously dependent on the whims, and in some cases, religious beliefs of local doctors, regardless of postcode. And, in the relatively wealthy south-east, shortages of key workers such as nurses mean waiting times for hospital treatment are longer than in less well-off areas in the midlands and the north.
Demographics have shown that unemployment rates are higher in certain areas than others, but it doesn’t mean that everybody within that area is unemployed or seeking healthcare for self inflicted illnesses. On the other hand, should somebody who works and contributes to the NHS through tax, maintains a healthy lifestyle but has an unavoidable illness lose out to somebody who makes no effort at all? Stakeholders such as residents of poorer communities are in a negative position because they may get worse, more expensive treatment or have longer to wait than in some other areas. These issues cause a lot of anger, frustration and suffering to society. Local efforts to try and raise awareness in poor communities are failing the blame for the issue of deprivation is being passed to those who are already deprived.
New drugs and treatments; Like everything else in the world, medication and treatments are constantly being updated and improved, or completely new drugs are being released. Although this could be seen a positive move the NHS are making it also has a negative affect on society because there are new solutions to existing problems that people will want as soon as they are available. If a cure for cancer were discovered tomorrow, everybody would want it. This is a problem for the NHS because they would have to prioritise who would get the drugs/treatment first and there’s no 100% fair and ethical way that they could do this. This would have a negative affect on society because people who have been suffering for a long time have to wait even longer, even though some people in the exact same circumstances as them may be getting their treatments already. Another big stakeholder of this is the NHS because they’ll be under extreme pressure to produce the medication very quickly and make it available to everybody but they may not have enough money, staff or resources to do this which will hugely affect another stakeholder; the government. With less people contributing towards tax there are already a lot of public sector job cuts which reduces employees to produce the new drugs. With a high rate of unemployment it means that the government are already paying a lot in benefits and not