Access to Welfare: An Introduction to Welfare Rationing by Peggy Foster

By Peggy Foster

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Many of those interviewed confused social work with social security.

Consequently they make very slow progress in coping with the diswelfares of the system. The Marxist critique of capitalist society and of the role played by the statutory social services within it thus challenges the traditional view of welfare needs on two main grounds. First, it criticises those who take a narrow view of welfare needs wh ich excludes any analysis of the relationship between capitalism and the creation of needs and diswelfares. Second, it challenges the tradition al approach to the social services which ignores their role within the capitalist state and emphasises that their primary objective is to distribute benefits according to need.

Complaints that are judged to be minor by doctors are not necessarily perceived as minor by patients. A minor medical complaint may have a very serious effect on an individual's everyday life. Moreover, patients do not have the medical knowledge to judge whether or not their symptoms are 'nothing to worry about'. A severe headache which the patient fears to be a brain tumour may be diagnosed as trivial by the doctor. " Whereas the doctors judged 68 per cent of the complaints seen as 'not medically serious' only 39 per cent of patients thought that their problem was 'not medically serious', and whereas the doctors judged that 47 per cent of the complaints would not have a serious effect on their patients' everyday lives, only 28 per cent of patients judged their problems to be not serious in this way.

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