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Healthcare Assignment: Stakeholders In The Health System


You are supposed to write a healthcare assignment addressing the following questions:
Question 1: Williamson (2008) outlines the three critical structural interests (dominant, challenging and repressed) from Alford’s theory and describes the three key groups that held those interests in the 1970s when Alford developed his theory.

  • Summarise each of the interest groups. Who typifies these interests in Australia’s Health System? Provide two examples of each in the Australian context.

Question 2: The commercial determinants of health describe the role that corporations and commercial interests play in health. Mailon (2020) describes three key practices corporations use to maximise profit.

  • Describe the three practices that are used. Provide an example, from the Australian context, that illustrates each one. In presenting an example, you draw on examples you’ve seen in the media or in your studies. This is a good opportunity to think critically about what is going on around us.

Question 3: Liaise with your group members to select a health profession of interest to you (e.g., medicine, dentistry, dietetics, physiotherapy, nursing). Then draw on the relevant chapter from the Willis, Reynolds & Keleher (2012 or 2016) reading, along with relevant material from the AIHW online resources to address the following questions.

  • Provide a full description of your health professional: Who are they? Where do they work? What role do they play in the health system? Who is their professional body?
  • What role do they play, or could they play, in addressing health inequalities?

Consider the below readings and address the above tasks:
Williamson, C (2008) ‘Alford's theoretical political framework and its application to interests in health care now.’ British Journal of General Practice, 58(552), 512–516 doi: 10.3399/bjgp08X319558

This reading provides an excellent summary of Robert Alford’s seminal work on the ‘structural interests’ driving policy.

Mialon M. (2020). An overview of the commercial determinants of health. Globalization and health, 16(1), 74.

This reading provides a good background the commercial determinants of health and an understanding of the role corporates play in health and policy

Willis, E., Reynolds, L., & Keleher, H. (2012). Understanding the Australian Health Care System, Elsevier, Chatswood.

Chapters 17-25 focus on different health professions (e.g., Nursing, Midwifery, Occupational therapy etc.). Pick one of these chapters to read. NB. The library has 15 electronic copies of this book, so we strongly suggest you access the chapter you need as soon as possible.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – online publications -


Healthcare Assignment Answer 1
Summaries of the interest groups

Dominant: The dominant interest is basically held by the monopolies of the professionals. Different health professionals particularly doctors involved in the clinical practice dominate the healthcare profession (Williamson, 2008). The dominant group has immense authority in order to define healthcare and disease. They have a strong influence in formulating the policies and successfully veto the interest of the other. Doctors oppose the new changes brought to the organization by the management team. This shows that the clinical professional is one of the dominant and powerful groups.

For instance, “The Royal Melbourne Hospital” is one of the important hospitals working in Australia to protect the interest of the doctors and healthcare professionals of Australia (, 2021). Royal Melbourne Hospital is one of the important healthcare hospitals for a professional doctor. The blueprint on the healthcare facility released by the government needs to be accepted by the doctors of Australia prior to its implementation. Another example of Dominance can be seen in the healthcare system particularly in the “Royal Children Hospital” (, 2021). The dominance of the heat care professional has resulted in the formulation of their own rules and regulation for the treatment of children. The doctor decides the framework for the treatment of the patients and overlooks the management decisions. The group of doctor is very string as result management of the hospital always needs to consul the group of doctors before bringing any changes to the organization.

Challenging: The government health facilities have huge pressure from political interference. The civil servant in the government hospitals is under huge pressure to fulfill the wishes of the powerful politician. Healthcare professionals are forced to utilize the resources for the defined population. This creates a huge disparity among the people. However, healthcare professionals and civil servants must ensure the proper utilization of the resources and equitable distribution of the resources to cater to the needs of the common masses (Bevir, Needham & Waring, 2019).

For instance, in the Graylands hospital, political interference is very prominent. The government officials serving in the hospital have huge pressure from the politicians of Australia (North Metropolitan Health Service – Graylands, 2021). Healthcare professionals are required to constantly fulfill the demand of some sections of people. The other example can be seen in the government hospital of Australia where particular group of people is given priority for the treatment. The bureaucrats of Australia get special treatment facility which is absent for the common patients.

Repressed: The community believes that equality and the accessibility to the healthcare facility is the right of the common people. The public and the patient consider that the healthcare facility must be available equally to the people of Australia. Various activists and the representative take the initiatives and advocate the welfare of the common people (Daugbjerg, Fraussen & Halpin, 2018).

For instance, Care Australia is one such organization working for the welfare of the patients of Australia. Care Australia is known for its advocacy to prevent the special care provided to the politicians and some dominant groups. It works to bring equality in the health care facility and make the healthcare system accessible to the common people (“CARE Australia: Give Now to Save Lives and Fight Poverty”, 2021). The other organization working for the protection of interest of the common people is named “Transparent hand”. This organization works to bring transparency into the system of the Australian healthcare.

Answer 2
The three key practices corporations use to maximize profit are unhealthy commodities, businesses, marketers, and political practices, and global drivers of ill health. Corporation uses these three key practices in order to maximize the profit. The term used that is corporate determinant refers to negative and positive of the corporation on the health of the population.

Unhealthy commodities
The first key practice is unhealthy commodities (Mialon, 2020). The prevalence of cancer and cardiovascular diseases results into 71% of the death. The drinking of alcohol by the people which is an unhealthy commodity and the various processed food coupled with the limited physical movement has resulted in the widespread of cardiovascular diseases. For instance, the Royal Melbourne Hospital has reported a rise in cardiovascular diseases. After the analysis of the patient, it has been found that the use of alcohol by such people has resulted in the development of cardiovascular diseases. The unhealthy food habit of the people of Australia and their tilt towards the junk food has resulted into the development of cancer and similar kind of diseases. The hospital has witnessed a mortality rate due to such diseases prevailing among the people. Other commodities such as pesticides and chemicals used during the food production process or at the time of commodity production have a very adverse effect on the health of the people. The use of chemicals in commodity production in Australia has negatively impacted the people of Australia. The rise in the health issue can be attributed to the use of chemicals in the manufacturing of commodities (Mialon, 2020).

Corporate profitability
The second key practice is corporate profitability. The corporation utilizes various business practices in order to run various kinds of activities. Many times, it has been witnessed that the various corporation influence the political setup to bring the policy in favor of the business of the corporation. For instance, the Australian corporation pressurized the Australian authority to allow the sale of fast food and remove the fat tax from the food product. This has resulted in various health issues among the people of Australia.

Global drivers of ill health
The third key practice is the global drivers of ill health. These global drivers have the potential to influence the corporation’s profitability and demand in the market for the particular commodity. The neoliberal economies and globalization have resulted in the fast-flowing of goods and services across the world (Puaschunder & Beerbaum, 2020). The market at the global level is widely interconnected. The effect of the market is seen across the world. For instance, Australia has various trade relations among different countries. The market of Australia is greatly dependent on external factors as the demand for the commodity in the foreign countries. The rise in the middle-income group and the demand from the middle-income group has a great influence on the market of Australia. The movement of commodities has possessed a risk to the health of the people of Australia.

Answer 3
Dentistry refers to as dental medicine or oral medicine is considered as one of the branches of medicine. This branch consists of diagnosis, study, and prevention as well as the treatment of the diseases and maintains oral health. The Australian Dental Association is the controlling authority for dentists. The association is responsible for the welfare of the dentist and protects their interest through various instruments (Willis, Reynolds & Keleher, 2016). On a regular basis, it carries out discussion with various dentists and identifies the lacunas in the career growth. This association effectively plans the framework for the dentist and decides the practice criteria for the dentists. The demand of dental professional in the recent time is very high. The use of chemicals and many substances in the food processing affect the outer covering of the teeth that is enamel. As a result, the people develop cavity very easily. Therefore, to treat the oral issue the dentist demand is on the rise in Australia (, 2021).

The majority of the dentist practices their profession in the private hospitals of Australia. They start their career as an assistant dentist. However, they have a wide range of scope for their career growth. They have the opportunity to establish their own venture. They are responsible for the treatment of people with oral health issues. At present, the unhealthy commodity and the utilization of alcohol give rise to various types of health-related issues. The prominent and prevalent issue among all is the oral cavity in the patients. The low level of awareness and the reluctance of the people in maintaining oral hygiene gave rise to various oral issues (Cheung, 2019).

The dentist could play a most important role in addressing health equality among the people. The dentist could provide the treatment to the patient irrespective of their financial background, culture, and identity. By providing equal facilities to the people will bridge the inequality gap in healthcare services (Willis, Reynolds & Keleher, 2016). Providing free dental care services to people will 4ensure better oral hygiene. Dentists could be able to organize the campaign, provide free treatment, and make the people aware of the importance of availing the healthcare facility. Organizing the regular campaign by the dentist will make the people more aware about the health consequences of the poor oral habits (Lane et al., 2021). Dentist could provide equal opportunity to the patient to avail the facility and abstain from the favoritism kind of concept. Further, it will enable the people to avail the health facility without hesitating. Some section of the community shows reluctance in their behavior while availing the facility. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the doctor to make them comfortable and avoid the discrimination entertains in the healthcare establishment against such people (, 2021).

References (2021). Home - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Retrieved 21 August 2021, from

Bevir, M., Needham, C., & Waring, J. (2019). Inside co-production: Ruling, resistance, and practice. Social policy & administration, 53(2). Retrieved from

CARE Australia: Give Now to Save Lives and Fight Poverty. (2021). Retrieved 21 August 2021, from

Cheung, A. T. (2019). Contemporary rural health workforce policy in Australia: Evidence-based or ease-based?. Australian Medical Student Journal, 80. Retrieved from

Daugbjerg, C., Fraussen, B., & Halpin, D. (2018). Interest groups and policy capacity: Modes of engagement, policy goods and networks. In Policy capacity and governance (pp. 243-261). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Retrieved from

Lane, T. J., Sheehan, L., Gray, S., & Collie, A. (2021). Regional differences in time off work after injury: a comparison of Australian states and territories within a single workers’ compensation system. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 1-8.Retrieved from

Mialon, M. (2020). An overview of the commercial determinants of health. Globalization and Health, 16(1), 1-7. Retrieved from

North Metropolitan Health Service - Graylands Hospital. (2021). Retrieved 21 August 2021, from

Puaschunder, J. M., & Beerbaum, D. (2020, August). The future of healthcare around the world: Four indices integrating technology, productivity, anti-corruption, healthcare and market financialization. In Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference Proceedings of the 18th Interdisciplinary RAIS conference at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States (pp. 164-185). Retrieved from Indices_Integrating_Technology_Productivity_Anti-Corruption_Healthcare_and_Market_ Financialization/links/5f8da56b299bf1b53e32877a/The-Future-of-Healthcare-around-the- World-Four-Indices-Integrating-Technology-Productivity-Anti-Corruption-Healthcare-and-Market-Financialization.pdf (2021). The Royal Children's Hospital : The Royal Children's Hospital. Retrieved 21 August 2021, from

Williamson, C. (2008). Alford's theoretical political framework and its application to interests in health care now. British Journal of General Practice, 58(552), 512-516. Retrieved from

Willis, E., Reynolds, L., & Keleher, H. (Eds.). (2016). Understanding the Australian health care system. Elsevier Health Sciences. Retrieved from,+E.,+Reynolds,+L.,+%26+Keleher,+H.+(2012).&ots=vbZ3Wc0uVP&sig=WUU7Lfa993vNWlLPL18qcwHkTtI

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